10 plants to set light to August borders.

August can be a tricky month in the garden – a real injection is usually needed between the prettiness of June and July flowers, and the mellow quality of September asters and fawn grasses. What we need is HOT COLOUR and spadefuls of it to cheer us up as another summer starts to slip away. Let’s ditch subtlety (easy for me or indeed Caroline; Laura not so much …) and go for right-between-the-eyes zing to brighten the borders. Here are four of my favourites for doing just that: 1. Anthemis tinctoria – This wonderful daisy grows happily even in poor...

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Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Coleton Fishacre’

Late summer in our garden – and predominant in the beds are shades of purple, lavender, blue and pink; the hot colours of the autumn garden have yet to get into their stride. So, my subject today is the perfect antidote to fit into this misty mix. Neither yellow, nor rust, nor ochre, it is unapologetically orange, and this is quite an unusual colour at any time of the year. Bright but not shouty, it fits in anywhere. Formerly called ‘Gerbe d’Or (and it is not immediately apparent when and why the name was changed), it was raised by...

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Free seeds anyone? Grow-How Tips for August

‘Summertime and the livin’ is easy’, so my tasks for you this time are of the more relaxed kind – a little gentle seed-collection, pruning the rambler roses, some feedback from earlier topics…. Nothing too demanding, I trust – you’ll have time to relax and enjoy these all-too-fleeting days of high summer… SEEDS FOR SAVING Lots of plants will be going to seed now, and it feels almost criminal not to be collecting this marvellous free harvest. I’m thinking of things like foxgloves (Digitalis), love-in-a-mist (Nigella), sunflowers (Helianthus), Cosmos, Allium, honesty (Lunaria), Aquilegia, Verbena bonariensis, poppies (Papaver), Primula.etc. Seeds from ‘species’ plants...

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Best scents of summer

Which plants have the most evocative scents of summer? At the risk of being called an introverted snob again (Caroline thinks I don’t read what she puts out about me on Twitter) gardening is so much more interesting when you explore the biology behind it. Flowers produce scent to lure pollinators to their nectar. So I have concluded that moths must have a much poorer sense of smell than butterflies as flowers that are adapted to pollination by crepuscular insects (those that come out at dawn and dusk Caroline) have the strongest scent of all. Take Brugmansia, the angels...

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