The Simple Things
AGAPANTHUS: this South-African beauty with blooms that resemble a firework, is best with its roots restricted, so a pot is a good option. Use to add drama to a patio, or in borders, sink a plastic container into the ground to plant in.
Try these: Agapanthus ‘ Inkspots’ for an electrifying blue colour, or ‘ Purple Cloud’ for larger flowers.
ALLIUMS: these globe-shaped flowers in an array of colours range from small, tight scarlet balls to huge purple or white globes.
Try these: Allium atropurpureum for deep purple button-like blooms, or cristophii for star-like flowers.
DAHLIAS: flowers from midsummer into the autumn, so a great choice if you want cut flowers. There are many forms to choose from and an array of colours.
Try these: ‘Ambition’ for shocking magenta cactus-style flowers, or ‘ David Howard’ for classic orange pom-pom blooms.
CROCOSMIA: clumps of spiky leaves and arching spires of fiery-coloured florets.
Try these: ‘ Emberglow’ for dark red flowers or ‘ Emily McKenzie’ for crimson-splashed, bright orange blooms.
GLADIOLI: tall towers of showy, brightly coloured blooms.
Try these: ‘ Espresso’ for sumptuously dark tones or ‘Green Star’ for lime green blooms. For something a little more demure, try
Gladiolus murielae, which is a great cutflower with a delicious scent.
BEGONIAS: Old-fashioned and blousey, these heavily scented blooms appear from May to the first frosts. They prefer pots and work well planted alone.
Try these: ‘ Pink Flamingo’ for a deep pinky-red double flower, or ‘ White Giant’, which can cope in the shade.
FREESIAS: highly scented, working well near a garden entrance so you’re hit with the heady fragrance immediately.
Try these: the classic, ‘ White’, or ‘ Blue Moon’ for pretty mauve flowers.
CANNAS: if you have a taste for the tropics, go for cannas with their red-hot flowers and lush foliage.
Try these: ‘ Phasion’ for burnt orange blooms and striped foliage or ‘ Tropicana Black’ for striking, near-black foliage.
LILIES: Preferring a sunny spot, lilies fill the summer evening air with a sweet scent.
Try these: ‘Casa Blanca’ for a purer white flower than its popular cousin, ‘ Regale Album’ or Lilium speciosum var. rubrum for shocking pink blooms.