I’ve not done a flower post to join in with Chloris’ Monthly Top Ten Flowers meme for a while now. My focus has been elsewhere and quite frankly the flower bit of the garden isn’t brilliant this year. However, as I’ve been taking cuttings and assessing the mess, it seemed like a good time to pull my finger out and bookmark some pretty reliable performers. As I chose the photographs of September blooms I noticed that I was picking out a lot of red. It’s interesting, because that isn’t the main colour in the borders by any stretch, but like my MIL says, a splash of red in a picture makes all the difference (there’s some theory behind it too).
Anyhow, here’s what has caught my eye this month:
1) Linum grandiflorum
This scarlet flax is actually in a meadow mix, but it really ‘pops’ in the combination and has the same effect as the poppies earlier in the year.
2) Cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberries’
Each year there seems to be a new Cosmos variety to try out and on paper I liked the look of D.C. Cranberries to go with the plum coloured flowers I was favouring this year. The plants themselves have been a little floppy, but the flowers are exactly as advertised.
Yes, I shameless use that name for them still and I can’t get enough of them, especially the taller forms. However, since I am cutting and pasting its long name you get the proper form now: This is Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken An Alma Potschke’ and it lights up the borders every year. Funnily enough I am beginning to see variations in flower colour and size at the edges of the clumps, so I suppose they are crossing somehow. It seems strange though. Anyone else seen similar?
I invariably grow Amaranthus ‘Red Army’ each season, but, as with cosmos, I have fun testing out additional cultivars most years. For a while now I’ve been wanting to source a variety I saw on holiday, growing in a lovely French potager garden. It was glorious display, standing as tall as head height, with leaves turning from maroon at its base to an incredible lipstick pink at its top. This year I’ve grown ‘Molten Fire’ (above) it is the closest that I’ve got so far. Unfortunately what you are looking at is only 20cm tall!!! What am doing wrong? All the other varieties grow fine.
We revamped a short border at the end of our drive in the spring and have largely designated it a rose bed. I hate rose maintenance and so made some constraints on what was chosen to go in it, namely the roses had to at least be repeat flowering and moderately to strongly scented. This is R. ‘Helen Robinson’, a Harkness rose and she fits the bill perfectly.
This wonderful little salvia (Salvia greggii ‘Cherry Red’) has flowered continuously from late spring. It is still going strong. I’ve been taking cuttings. Lots.
I’ve done a complete about-face with regards to nerine and my affections. Now I love them and they look great with Penstemon ‘Andenken an Friedrich Hahn’.
8) Ah yes, Begonias
Specifically B. ‘Ember Glow’, otherwise I am not a big fan. But this one has beautiful leaves and endless, cascading, lava-like orange flowers. I bought plug plants this year so that I could have even more glowing mounds around the garden.
There’s nothing wrong with highlighting old favourites. I grow zinnias in the borders at Wimpole because the slugs at home mean that I never have any to show there. I grow them against the wishes of one of my team. She really isn’t a fan, but I can’t help loving their cheerfulness, daisy-like flowers and the way the centre flowers grow up and up and up. Plus the visitors and bumblebees love them!
Resistance is futile.
Don’t forget to check out Chloris’ phenomenal selection of September blooms!