Best of the bunch

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

Also known as mont­bre­tia, these frost-hardy corms grown for their brightly coloured flow­ers, which last late into sum­mer, also pro­vide ar­chi­tec­tural value with their sword-shaped, up­right leaves.

Among the most daz­zling is C. ‘Lu­cifer’, which grows to around 1-1.2m (3-4ft) tall and bears siz­zling tomato-red blooms, ideal for mixed and herba­ceous borders, along­side he­le­ni­ums and rud­beck­ias. The flow­ers are ex­cel­lent for cut­ting and will tol­er­ate sun or dap­pled shade, pre­fer­ring moist but well-drained fer­tile soil. Other good types in­clude C. ‘Bress­ing­ham Blaze’, a shorter va­ri­ety with fiery or­ange-red flow­ers with a yel­low throat, which looks great in a hot colour theme. Give the plants a good mulch in win­ter and di­vide or sep­a­rate over­grown clumps in spring. Be warned, though, some of them do spread like wild fire so you’ll need to be vig­i­lant to keep them in check.

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