Manawatu Standard

Siberian iris and gaura


attractive, saw-toothed foliage, producing tiny little rust-coloured ‘‘bullets’’ that float through their neighbours. Terrific for picking and for drying.

Eryngium planum ‘Sea Holly’ and Echinops ritro ‘Globe Thistle’ are in the running with their silvery blue tones and fantastica­l prickly blooms. Well after their colour has faded, they present great graphic form in the tonal, winter gardenscap­e. And I simply can’t leave out long flowering, starry headed Astrantia major ‘Star Bush’ for its beauty in the garden and the vase.

Lastly, within this long wish list, I am extremely motivated to include pink and white gaura. Inspired by its use in public planting throughout Christchur­ch’s central city, I have noted that the plants have flowered for months, coming into their own in early-summer and still waving their little butterfly blooms through to early-winter.

There are certainly other plants dancing around the edges of my list, including my favourite lowerlying, long-flowering Knautia macedonica ‘Red Cherries’ and late-season beauty Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’.

I have been investigat­ing penstemons, persicaria­s, veronicast­rums, heleniums and salvias to continue filling in the seasonal gaps but physical space is certainly my challenge!

I look forward to sharing the progress of this project once the hard digging is done.

Julia Atkinson-dunn is the writer and creative behind Studio Home. You can join her on @studiohome­gardening or

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