Not shy or retiring, Walther makes a bold statement with his silvery feathery foliage topped, from early to late summer, by flat flowerheads made up of multitudinous brick red or burnt orange florets with yellow centres. These fade to an interesting terracotta sort of shade. Walther will quickly establish a strong clump. Nice chap. Full sun. Any well...
READY SOON. A really rather splendid specimen, forming a clump of divided palmate leaves and producing a late season display of stiff spikes covered in large hooded deep blue flowers over a long period. Sun or semi-shade. Most soils. 3 ft+ 2 litre pot.
Aconitum offers great value as a strong bloomer in that difficult late summer period: this is a shorter variety with two aces up its sleeve - larger than normal deep but clear blue flowers and leaves that come up a fetching shade of red in spring before maturing to glossy green. Sun or semi-shade. Moist but well drained soil. To 3 feet. 2 litre pot.
A very fetching variety of this clump-forming perennial with striking black leaves (they start out green but colour as they develop). In late summer the plant is topped by arching spikes of pure white scented flowers. Great name, too. Likes some shade. Moist soil. To 3 ft. 2 litre pot.
Also known as Navy Blue, which rather gives away the intense colour of the large flowerheads which are held on erect stems over the strappy foliage in mid- to late summer. One of the very best and very hardy. Full sun. Moist but well drained soil. 36 in. 2 litre pot.
We like agastaches for their highly aromatic leaves and long flowering period. This bushy upright plant, a recent introduction, has spikes of deep raspberry pink flowers from midsummer to the frosts. Best in the sun. Any well drained soil. Quite compact at 2 ft. 1 litre pot.
READY SUMMER 2015. We like agastaches for their highly aromatic leaves and long flowering period. This bushy upright plant has spikes of deep reddish pink flowers from midsummer to the frosts. Best in the sun. Any well drained soil. Quite compact at 2 ft. 1 litre pot.
A really beautiful plant with leaves scented like some long cool drink on a summer terrace and, through the summer, tall spikes of tiered whorls of reddish pinky-purple flowers. Also good in that it doesn’t spread too much - so you can always find a space for it! – and it can tolerate dry soils. Likes the sun. Any well drained soil. 3 to 4 feet. 1 litre pot.
READY SOON. A splendidly gothic variey of bugle, with glossy rounded leaves that are deep purple, as close to black as you can pretty much get, and, in spring and into summer, short spikes of deep blue flowers that stand out well against the foliage. Vigorous. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 6 in. 1 litre pot.
An excellent choice for low-growing ground cover: the evergreen foliage, silvery green flushed with deep wine-red, provides interest all year round, and the upright spikes of blue flowers provide a long-lasting display in late spring and early summer. Sun or semi-shade. Moist but well drained soil. 6 in. 1 litre pot.
READY SOON. Now you can have a hollyhock without the dreaded rust! Or pretty much. This cross between Alcea and Althaea has semi-double rose pink flowers arranged along tall stems from the height of summer until the depths of autumn. Great for that cottage garden feel. Full sun. Any soil. 4 ft. 2 litre pot.
READY SOON. Now you can have a hollyhock without the dreaded rust! Or pretty much. This cross between Alcea and Althaea has creamy apricot yellow dark-centred flowers arranged along tall stems from the height of summer until the depths of autumn. Great for that cottage garden feel. Full sun. Any soil. 4 ft. 2 litre pot.
READY SUMMER 2015. Lady’s Mantle is a lovely plant, with its scalloped leaves and frothy yellow flowers in summer, but it can get a bit big for its boots. This variety solves this problem, being smaller in all its parts, but just as lovely. Sun or semi-shade. Moist fertile soil. 10 in. 1 litre pot.
READY SUMMER 2015. The parent species is a native of the United States only rarely seen over here: Blue Ice is a spectacular plant with erect stems clothed in dark green willowy leaves and, in early summer, clouds of starry blue flowers. It puts on a second star turn in the autumn when the foliage colours golden yellow. Sun or semi-shade. Moist but well...
The name makes this plant sound a sturdy and dependable fellow, and so it is - a solid base of elliptical dark green rather hairy leaves and branching flowering spikes bearing clusters of intense blue flowers, not especially large in themselves but creating quite an impact. Will happily stand to attention in your border. Sun or semi-shade. Moist but...
READY SOON. Late-flowering Japanese anemones bring fresh colour to late summer and autumn with their delicate cup-shaped flowers. Andrea Atkinson forms a strong bushy plant and sports a profusion of beautiful single pure white blooms. Sun or semi-shade. Moist fertile soil. 2 ½ - 3 ft. 2 litre pot.
Late-flowering Japanese anemones bring fresh colour to late summer and autumn with their delicate cup-shaped flowers. Rotkäppchen (or Red Riding Hood, as you may know her) has semi-double dark rosy pink flowers, probably the deepest of any anemone. Sun or semi-shade. Moist fertile soil. 18 in. 2 litre pot.
READY SUMMER 2015. See it and fall in love. Yes, it’s that good. A sturdy plant with glossy, finely-cut, virtually black foliage that has real presence. Add to that sprays of fluffy pink flowers that emerge from purple buds and ... enough said. Amazing. Best in some shade. Moist fertile soil. 3 ft. 2 litre pot.
A tall and stately plant with dark foliage, bronzy purple in hue, on strong wine purple stems. Liking it so far? Gets even better in late summer and early autumn, when umbels of creamy pink flowers join the display. Sun or semi-shade. Most soils. 4 feet + 2 litre pot.
As the name suggests, this is the Canadian columbine, though it also grows in the United States. It is an elegant and airy plant with divided ferny foliage and, in late spring and early summer, nodding flowers with yellow petals surrounded by crimson sepals with upward facing spurs. Sun or semi-shade. Most soils. 18 in. 1 litre pot.
A distinctive and rather different form of columbine, as the characteristic spurs are absent on the flowers which are more open and semi or fully double, hence the comparison with clematis. The flowers are usually pink, though coloration may vary, which makes it all the more exciting. Sun or semi-shade. Any well drained soil. 18-24 in. 1 litre pot.
Aquilegia flowers come in all sorts of shapes, but this is one of the more unusual, looking like a ballerina’s dress made up of several blooms set one inside the other. All in a subtle shade of rose-pink set off by the bluish foliage. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 24 in. 1 litre pot.
A classic variety and deservedly popular with its deep ruby-red semi-double flowers held on stems that are themselves dark red. The bright yellow anthers in the centre provide a delightful contrast. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 2 feet. 2 litre pot.
Very very nice. In fact pretty irresistible, with its divided ferny foliage and maybe the most attractive flowers you will see on an aquilegia - coppery orange red around a yellow corolla. And if that's not enough already, it will carry on flowering after most of its kind have stopped, sometimes into autumn. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 2 feet...
A truly spectacular variety which puts on a long-lasting display of very large lemon yellow flowers characterised by their lengthy spurs. The delicately dissected bluish green foliage comes as an added bonus. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 2 feet + 2 litre pot.
READY EARLY SUMMER 2015.Perhaps the most spectacular vegetable you can grow, this perennial will grow to some 6 feet and, from the second year on, bear large flowerheads, which can be eaten before the buds open, or you can just grow it as an architectural specimen plant. Sunny spot. Fertile well drained soil. To 6 feet. 1 litre pot.
Or goatsbeard, if you were wondering. This is a hard to find variety which is ideal for the smaller garden, as it is compact, but has the characteristic maidenhair-like foliage and creamy white plumes of flowers from early summer. Distinctive. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 2 to 3 feet. 2 litre pot.
READY SOON. This North American native answers to the common name of butterfly weed - and lives up to it too, as butterflies and other flying insects are attracted by the clusters of shocking orange flowers that are held on tall upright stems over a long period from summer into autumn. Full sun. Any reasonable soil, including dry ones. 36 in. 2 litre pot.
Avalanche, as the name might suggest, sports glorious white plumes, which are thick and fluffy and are produced profusely from early summer. They contrast beautifully with the reddish tint of the feathery foliage. Sun or semi-shade. Moist soil. 2 feet. 2 litre pot.
READY SOON. Why name a plant after a style of coffee? Well, the spectactular feathery plumes of white flowers are the froth on top of the lacy reddish brown foliage which does a pretty good job of impersonating the coffee. See? Sun or semi-shade. Moist soil. 24 in. 2 litre pot.
Pink is somehow a shade that becomes astilbes rather well, and Erika is a fine specimen to prove it. The foliage emerges tinged red then matures dark green, all the better to contrast with the fluffy spikes of the aforesaid pink. Really rather nice. Sun or semi-shade. Moist soil. 30 in. 2 litre pot.
READY SOON. Not a big plant in terms of stature, but big in the impact it makes in early to mid summer when prolific plumes of flowers, starting out reddish pink then shading to soft candy floss pink, float above divided foliage of deepest woodland green. Cue roll of thunder. Sun or semi-shade. Moist soil. 18 in. 2 litre pot.
READY SOON. A recent introduction with a lot going for it. Divided foliage that starts out coppery red in spring then matures to darkest green and, above that, spectacular triangular plumes of vibrant red flowers in early to mid summer. Nice. Sun or semi-shade. Moist soil. 24 in. 2 litre pot.
Rather more compact than some varieties is Red Baron, which will brighten up the garden for many weeks with its feathery red flower spikes and reddish-tinted divided foliage. Sun or semi-shade. Moist soil. 18 in. 2 litre pot.
READY SOON. Dried flower arrangers will like this one for its clusters of saucer shaped deep red blooms, actually umbels of tiny flowers surrounded by papery bracts, borne over a long period in summer. There are a number of dark red varieties of which this is definitely one of the very best. Sun or semi-shade. Most soils, not too dry. 18 in. 2 litre pot.
The varietal name translates as Winter Glow on account of the fact that the glossy leathery evergreen leaves take on reddish bronzy hues during the autumn and winter months before, in spring, clusters of reddish pink flowers appear, held on sturdy stems above the foliage. Answers to the name of Elephant Ears, but only to its friends. Sun or semi-shade....
A remarkable oddity, this plant has a basal rosette of greyish leaves and looks, to all intents and purposes, rather like a thistle. But then, in summer, tall stems rise up, bearing large lilac purple flowers which is, to put it mildly, something of a surprise. A nice surprise. Full sun. Well drained soil. 18-24 in. 1 litre pot.
A real rarity and a spectacular one, at that: this is a large plant with glossy leaves rather like a yucca and, in summer, tall shocking pink stem from which dangle red cylindrical bells tipped with green. Quite unlike anything else seen in your average garden! Likes the sun. Fertile well drained soil. 4-5 ft. in flower. 2 litre pot.
As a change from the silvery leaved types, we do rather like this Brunnera, with its large mid-green leaves with their splendidly irregular creamy margins. Makes a splash, as they say. The usual forget-me-not flowers in spring add to its appeal, Prefers some shade. Fertile, moist but well-drained soil. 18 in. 2 litre pot.
READY SOON. It’s the leaves that catch your eye, large and heart-shaped, their silvery surface almost mirror-like. That will do for starters, indeed for most of the year, but in early summer you also sprays of bright blue flowers in the style of forget-me-nots. A newly introduced variety, tougher than Looking Glass. Prefers some shade. Fertile, moist but...
Named after the house where John Ruskin lived, this is a sturdy and striking perennial forming a basal clump of mid green toothed leaves from which rise upright stems clothed with rather smaller leaves and clusters of large tubular bell-shaped flowers (pace Mike Oldfield!) in an intense shade of purplish blue. A nice one. Sun or semi-shade. Moist but well...
READY SOON. The emerald bit refers to the foliage of this compact bell flower, which is lovely as described. Just as lovely are the large clusters of sky blue flowers which perch atop sturdy stems throughout the summer months. A beauty. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 18 in. 2 litre pot.
Perhaps one the weirder plants, both in name and appearance, that you can have in your garden, but certainly a talking point. Usual vigorous basal rosette of slightly toothed leaves and, over a long period in summer, extraordinary rosy pink flowers which leave you in no doubt about the octopus bit of the name. Sun or semi-shade. Well drained soil. 18 in....
READY SOON. Try this if you want a campanula unlike most of those commonly available. It has bright green heart-shaped leaves and lovely arching summer sprays of large creamy bell-shaped flowers heavily spotted inside with maroon. Sun or semi-shade. Well drained soil. 2 ½ ft. 1 litre pot.
READY SOON. Campanula Persicifolia is one of the classic cottage garden plants, and this variety lives up to its name, being beautiful indeed. It forms an evergreen rosette of lance-shaped mid-green leaves, from which rise, in early to mid-summer, slender stems clothed in porcelain blue flared bell-shaped flowers. Likes the sun. Moist but well-drained...
READY EARLY SUMMER 2015. This variety has lilac blue petals around a central deep blue eye, which rise up on wiry stems above a rosette of toothed silvery grey leaves. The big silvery buds, which precede the flowers, are themselves very attractive. Likes sun and well drained soil. 2 to 3 feet. 1 litre pot.
This version of Cupid’s Dart has pure white ruffled petals around a central purplish eye, which rise up on wiry stems above a rosette of toothed silvery grey leaves. The big silvery buds, which precede the flowers, are themselves very attractive. Likes sun and well drained soil. 2-3 ft. 1 litre pot.
Now this one is rather special, a relatively new introduction with strong upright habit which produces its showy, rather swirly flowers in a bold pink pretty much throughout the summer. Bee-friendly, so the eco credentials are catered for as well. Who could ask for more? Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. To 2 feet. 1 litre pot.
Another one for the gothic enthusiast, Jordy sports splendidly ragged flowers with spidery petals in a virtually black shade of deepest maroon. Set against the silvery foliage in early and mid summer, the effect is stunning. Cue black cats and broomsticks. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 18 in. 1 litre pot.
READY SUMMER 2015. This plant, which is happiest in poor soil, seems to bloom all the time, with clusters of fragrant rich red flowers, which will attract butterflies. The leaves are fleshy and grey-green. The stuff of hot dusty summer days in the British countryside. Try it in the crevices of a wall. Full sun. Any soil. 2 ft. 1 litre pot.