August is the month when early summer’s green flush is over. As we swelter, here is an eclectic selection of flowers, with a concentration on hot oranges, purples and dark pinks, that are looking good even in the heat, and providing high summer gorgeousness.
Most roses are still going strong, after their first flush in late May. There are so many stars but particularly beautiful are:
R. The Lady of Shallott whose coppery tones and strong growth flourishes even in shady places.
R. Princess Anne is dark pink and very floriferous, one of the last still in flower in November. Perfect shaped open flowers.
By contrast, R. Burgundy Ice, is dark purple. Slow to establish and prone to blackspot, but the flowers are unusually dark and attractive, it is coming into its own after several years.
[EXOTIC POTTED: We keep in pots to move into protection and keep dry for winter.
Canna love the heat, both flowers and foliage are stunning and the statuesque growth adds height to any planting.
C. Black Tropicana is one of the tallest varieties and really creates impact at 6′ tall.
C. Golden Orb is a gorgeous warm orangey yellow.
C. Happy Julia is smaller than these at only 2′ but flowers prolifically with a beautiful soft apricot orange. Part of the Happy series!
Agapanthus are always worth including, although it can be difficult to get lots of flowers, we’re still working on that!
A. Black Pantha is darkest purple
Late summer wouldn’t be the same without Salvias: now extremely popular: helped by the amazing Salvia border at RBG Kew; visit this if you possibly can for ideas. Our favourites include some tender varieties, which we keep in pots in a dry place over winter. Salvias hate winter wet and will often disappear over winter for this reason.
It’s an enormous genus and hard to choose which ones to highlight as there are so many, so this is not an exhaustive list, just what is working well for us.
S. Nachtvlinder: darkest purple, subtle and elegant
S. Hotlips: red and white and definitely the easiest, toughest Salvia, overwinters quite happily for us.
S. Cero Potosi: lipstick pink, really stands out in the border.
S. oxyphora: tender and exotic, with furry dark pink flowers and delicious herby nectar if you suck the flowers.
S. Peach Parfait: this missed out on pruning earlier in the year and has flowered so prolifically
Tender Pelargoniums love the heat and sun and are doing brilliantly this year because of it. We particularly love the scented leaf varieties.
New to us last year is P. Saffron, which has very dark pink flowers, and is so floriferous even in the smallest of containers.
Annuals sown from seed in April/May are really coming into their own as summer progresses.
Helianthus Harlequin is multi headed in shades of copper, bronze and orange. It’s taller than we expected as it towers over Tagetes Burning Embers, in the veg bed.
Ipomea Grandpa Ott: is the most gorgeous iridescent purple, but blink and you miss the flowers! Luckily there are plenty of them. This is the easiest and most prolific of this genus that we have grown, and seeds around for years to come.
Cobaea scandens: exotic dark purple, it always looks mysterious!
Sunflower Harlequin & French Marigold Burning Embers
Ipomea Grandpa Ott
Cobaea scandens from below
For cut flowers and sheer gorgeous variety we have
Zinnias, with their stiff upright habit they don’t need any staking and every sort of shape and colour.
Cosmos are hard to beat and beautiful, particularly dark C. Rubenza and frilly C. Double Click varieties.
Lastly, and it is hard to know when to stop, as there are so many plants worth including, a mention must go to beautiful Fuchsia magellanica Versicolor, with it dark pink and purple drooping flowers and gorgeous foliage. Quite different from the usual blowsy non-hardy varieties. A more sophisticated plant altogether.