Sarah’s six superstars...
Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’
This clump-forming deciduous grass will romp away in spring. Flowering panicles appear in summer. Great backdrop for other plants. H: 1-1.5m (3 ¼-5ft), S: ½-1m (1¾-3 ¼ft).
An architectural grass – with fine, fluffy, airy, dark green leaves – which produces masses of spiky flowers through summer and autumn. H: 1-1.5m (3 ¼-5ft), S: ½-1m (1¾-3 ¼ft).
Salix alba vitellina ‘Britzensis’
This tree brings a sharp shot of winter colour. It can be contained to around 3m (10ft) tall, if it’s pollarded every year. Simple leaves and tiny catkins in spring.
Iris sibirica ‘Flight of Butterflies’
Prolific purple and white flowers from early June die back to attractive seed heads. Likes moist soil in a sunny site. H/S: ½-1m (1¾-3 ¼ft).
These herbaceous perennials are magnets for butterflies and bees. They’ll live happily in water or in moist soil on land. Team with grasses. H: 1-1.5m (3 ¼-5ft), S: ½-1m (1¾-3 ¼ft).
Aster ‘Little Carlow’
Among the prettiest of the autumn flowering asters with masses of intense lilac, daisy-like flowers. Cut back in late autumn. H: ½-1m (1¾-3 ¼ft), S: 1-1.5m (3 ¼-5ft).