Savour the fad­ing beau­ties

Garden Answers (UK) - - Celebrate -

The last flow­ers stand­ing are of­ten Gaura lind­heimeri, with their wil­lowy stems of white, but­ter­fly­shaped flow­ers soft­ened by rhubarb-pink sta­mens and pink buds. This North Amer­i­can plant is an evening prim­rose rel­a­tive that tends to be a short-lived peren­nial. How­ever, it’s eas­ily raised from seeds sown in March and will flower in its first year. There are pink forms in­clud­ing ‘Freefolk Rosy’ and ‘Rosy­jane’, but it’s the ephemeral qual­ity of the soft-white ver­sion that shines best as win­ter ap­proaches. Use gaura in a shel­tered sunny po­si­tion close to hardy salvias, such as bright-pink S. mi­cro­phylla ‘Wild Wa­ter­melon’. Or try a hardy va­le­rian from Morocco, Cen­tran­thus leco­qii with laven­der heads of but­ter­fly­and moth-pleas­ing flow­ers. They’ll all go on late un­til win­ter in­ter­venes. Cer­tain re­peat-flow­er­ing roses linger on too. One of the best is short, pink ‘Bon­ica’, bear­ing clus­ters of semi-dou­ble flow­ers from early July on­wards. White roses of­ten have a flour­ish now and noisette climber, ‘Madame Al­fred Car­rière’, will still put out its soft-white flow­ers tinted with ap­ple­blos­som pink. The fo­liage is healthy, the stems are thorn­less, so it’s easy to train and bend, and it will tol­er­ate a north wall. Stiff sil­hou­ettes from taller late­flow­er­ing monarda, asters and phlomis stand up well over win­ter and favourites in­clude monarda ‘Gar­den­view Scar­let’, aster ‘Lit­tle Car­low’ and shapely Phlomis tuberosa ‘Ama­zone’.

GO WITH THE PHLO Vi­brant or­ange Rhus ty­phina ‘Dis­secta’ helps seed­heads of phlomis to stand out

ASTER ‘LIT­TLE CAR­LOW’ Masses of flow­ers Au­gust to the frosts. Full sun or part shade. H90cm (3ft) S45cm (18in) Bears clus­ters of fra­grant mauve flow­ers from early sum­mer. Loved by bees. H60cm (2ft) S45cm (18in) Yel­low flow­ers May-Sept with un­usual seed­heads. H90cm (3ft) S75cm (30in) PHLOMIS RUSSELIANA CEN­TRAN­THUS LECO­QII

GAURA ‘ROSY­JANE’ White flow­ers with a pink pi­co­tee edge. Flow­ers May to the frosts. Likes sun. H75cm (30in) S60cm (2ft) MONARDA ‘GAR­DEN VIEW SCAR­LET’ Bright red tufted flow­ers July to frosts. Sun or part shade. H90cm (3ft) S45cm (18in) Sin­gle pink flow­ers off­set by gun­metal­grey fo­liage. Dark red hips. H1.8m (6ft) S1.5m (5ft) ROSA GLAUCA

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