The flower garden has been a bit disappointing this year. It started off pretty well with some lush green growth thanks to the rain, but hasn't really come into its own since then. The timing seemed to be out - there have been a few stand out plants coming good in dribs and drabs, but no real crescendo where the entire garden's looked great.
Of the new plants I've grown this year, the brown foxglove Digitalis Ferruginea has been a keeper. It's glossy leaves look good all year round, and although it didn't flower for very long, it's flower stalks are still upright now and looking rather stately in their decay.
|Digitalis Ferruginea - in early August|
But there are two plants that have done well every year we've been here, and will always be in any garden I have. The first is Persicaria Amplexicaulis 'Firetail'. It is indestructible - surviving in the most impossible places, whether sun or part-shade. It grows explosively - and can swamp delicate neighbours - but if it's next to plants that can stand up for themselves, the Persicaria will mould itself around them, really gelling a border together. It flowers continuously from late summer until the first frosts - after which it collapses in a heap.
|Persicaria Amplexicaulis 'Firetail'|
The other is the globe thistle - Echinops Sphaerocephalus. This is the species I think - you can get lots of cultivars which to my mind are smaller and less dramatic. Again it's strong as an Ox, doesn't mind drought, and has lots of flowers that bees love. You often find bumblebees lying on the flowers with their legs in the air apparently in a state of bliss. It's leaves are huge and very prickly - and by the time it flowers they can be a bit of a state - so it's best grown behind something else. But the stalks and heads will stand all winter - and really help give the winter garden structure.
|Echinops Sphaerocephalus - aka Globe Thistle|