Gardener’s Notes: Make your summer garden sing with colour

Salvia Hot Lips PNL-140618-152238001
Salvia Hot Lips PNL-140618-152238001
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There are so many brilliant summer shiners that will amply fill any gaps in your borders or the odd container and you will very quickly have flowers that will last until the first frosts in November, writes Jacky Richardson, of Preston Bissett Nurseries.

What could be better than some of the beautiful salvias made just to flower profusely.

Salvia Amistad PNL-140618-152228001

Salvia Amistad PNL-140618-152228001

The outstanding Salvia Amistad was simply the best flowering plant in my garden last year. It produces bloom after bloom of rich dark blue flowers well into November, so naturally I have planted a few this year.

It’s about 50cm tall so it slips into my pink/mauve herbaceous border with ease. Salvia Hot Lips sometimes advertised as a perennial was new on the bench only a few years ago but it is now deservedly sought after. It stands about 40cm tall like a soft grass in shape with very small leaves. These have survived the last few winters in my garden. Hot lips can be slipped into borders and it lends itself to simple containers.

There is a new pink equivalent that replaces Icing Sugar called Dayglow Pink. Its flowers are a lovely warm rose pink. This shade blends with cosmos, the summer plant my garden could not be without.

Among my established orange geums, white centranthus, yellow and orange achilleas, hot daylilies and Verbascum Gainsborough and frothy Alchemilla mollis I have bravely added the hot red Dahila Dalina Samos.

I have been looking for more red and it will be a while before Crocosmia Lucifer is in flower. Dahilias are dependable and the bright fiery red flower heads will be magnificent among yellows, oranges and blues.

Petunias are an easy plant to use to fill a gap and provide a bit of extra ground cover. I have to mention the amazing Banoffee Pie. Coal black striped with yellow flowers make these very striking.

If you appreciate fragrance add some of my favourite deep purple heliotrope or some fluffy nemesia. Both give off lovely vanilla scents. Heliotrope has strong flat flower heads more like achillea and nemesia produces masses of flower on stems about 20cm long and the colours are exquisite. Nemesia is often seen as an edging plant trimming the borders. They are both equally pretty in pots on their own or mixed with other plants.

Daisies are one of my summer choice plants. I think they are lovely in wedding pots planted in vintage items like little milk churns and enamel tubs and galvanised buckets. The argyranthemums are in some great colours from the classic white in single or double flowers to buttercup yellow, soft pink and a stronger magenta. Dead head them by removing the finished flower heads as we should with most plants and they will flower all summer.

I hope there are a few colourful ideas to inspire you and you can see it is easy to keep colour throughout the garden until winter frosts. If you remember to pull off finished flower heads and water and feed those in pots, they really will last.