The view above is from our bedroom window, earlier in August. Much the same now except the day lilies have gone over. It seems to be characteristic of a lot of things which flower now to keep on flowering for ages, but often tending to look increasingly raggedy. August is traditionally rather a dull month in British gardens, after the early summer rush of (most European origin) perennials and before the (mainly North American) daisy family and butterfly-attended led flurry of autumn. Hollyhocks are invaluable for colour and Rudbeckia fulgida varieties too, for lower-level colour. But there is no getting away from the fact that this is a month when a lot of perennial growth looks very messy.
The traditional response has been to rely on annuals, and Jo's lavatera, nicotiana and zinnias have done very well.
Gentiana ascelpiadea, known as the 'willow gentian' (heaven knows why!) is a great success here. They have a reputation for doing well on heavy soils, but they take several years to establish, and need careful protection from weeds and slugs during this time. There is also a high failure rate, so best grown from seed - expect to lose most. Once established (3 years on) they are very long lived and steadily get bigger and more spectacular. They make good cut flowers too with nice long stems. T
The incredibly good Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' as a backdrop to Aconitum arctuatum and a very tall North Carolina collection of Eupatorium fistulosum.
Heads of Echnops 'Taplow Giant' and Lythrum salicaria make good silhouettes in the increasingly low sunshine. This year's big success is Aralia cordata (right) which has taken off amazingly this year, from a slug-beset start. Trouble is, its rather in the wrong place and I'm not sure about transplanting it. The flowers are a terrific resource for pollinators of every kind imaginable.
Don't miss the video from my lecture on Piet Oudolf's work, made available by Hauser + Wirth.
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