liatris-spicata

Liatris spicata (Gayfeather or Blazing Star)

Another American prairie flower - not native to these parts. How wrong of me. I should confess I also listened to some South American music whilst driving to Rome this past weekend. How bold. I should have stuck with Vivaldi, but I was falling asleep!

Last year I made fun of FLW when I posted this flower that he so adored. This year I’ll not even bother telling you who he is… not a gardener, for sure!

The double herbaceous borders at RHS Wisley are worthy of close attention and admiration. Individual plants are to be appreciated for the well-grown specimens they are, and combinations of plants can delight and surprise as the eye bounces along each long, deep border before the grassy runway ascends Battleston Hill with all the delights that lay therein (and yes, I’ve wandered around those meandering paths this past week too and photos will follow, particularly of the hydrangeas but I’m getting ahead of myself…)

Excitement there is in abundance in these double borders – not matched or mirrored, though plants on one side often play somewhere in the mêlée opposite, usually with different companions and therefore to different effect. Having missed May, June and almost all of July, strangely absent as I have been from these gardens (Kew has taken up the slack but I shan’t let this length of time elapse again) I can’t say if I have missed a great deal with the scope, scale and drama of these borders in these past weeks – but there is a long way to go before they reach their zenith and begin their stately collapse.

Agapanthus Silver Mist

Lythrum salicaria Blush

Phlomis cashmeriana

Aconitum Spark’s Variety

Monarda Scorpion

Gyspophilia paniculata Compacta Plena

Actea simplex Brunette

Heleniums Sahin’s Early Flowerer

Phlox paniculata Discovery

Phlox Discovery

Helenium Sahins Early Flowerer

Agapanthus praecox Maximus Albus

Agapanthus Maximus Albus

Persicaria – possibly Firetail

Helenium Waltraut

Naturally the Heleniums, and the Phlox, are stars of the show and they are repeated along the length of each border. Persicaria, Veronicastrum, grasses of several ilk are repeated often too. These rich oranges, ember-reds and golden hues begin to feature more as the season turns towards High Summer and Autumn – Heleniums, Helianthemums, Helianthus annuus, Crocosmias, Dahlias, Rudbeckias all turn up the heat.

Helenium Waltraut

Helenium Waltraut

Crocosmia Vulcan

Monarda Scorpion

Achillea Parker’s Variety

Red spikes of Lobelia Queen Victoria

Potentilla Gibson’s Scarlet

Helenium Waltraut

Deschampsia cespitosa Goldtau with hints of fiery Crocosmia Vulcan

Even the white agapanthus is enlivened by this crocosmia, though the effect is a little busy..

Agapanthus campanulatus var albidus and Crocosmia Vulcan

Rudbeckias and a pink Penstemon

But there is room for some cooler colours and combinations even in a border that makes room for some more volcanic partnerships. Pinks and purples give way to cool blues and greys. We’ve already seen the Lythrum, Aconitum and Phlomis cashmeriana – white Agapanthus too – and to these we add –

Liatris spicata Kobold

Liatris spicata Kobold

Echinops above green Sedum and fountains of Miscanthus and thistle

Lythrum salicaria Feuerkerze

Lythrum salicaria Feuerkerze

Phlox paniculata Natural Feelings

Phlox paniculata Natural Feelings

Nepeta kubanica

Nepeta kubanica

Phlomis cashmeriania

Lythrum virgatum Drunmore Purple (and below)

Phlox paniculata Starfire – OK, so not everything is cooling down, though this is not strictly in the same range as the Heleniums and Rudbeckias, it still packs a punch!

Penstemon Fujiyama/Yayama cools things down once more….

Phlomis russeliana

Phlomis russeliana – green, cool and architectural

Phlomis russeliana

Monarda Violet Queen

Stachys officinalis Hummelo

Veronicastrum virginum f. roseum Pink Glow

Veronicastrum Pink Glow

Agapanthus Buckingham Palace

Agapanthus Midnight Blue

Agapanthus campanulatus var albidus

Agapanthus campanulatus var albidus

Pervoskia atriplicifolia Blue Spire

Echinops bannaticus Star Frost

Before we cool things right down with this Echinops, Star Frost, strong structural forms and pale grey colouring…

Phlox and the fronds of Astilbe in the background set off this Echinops, Star Frost – in the same borders as the hot heleniums and crocosmias

Echinops Star Frost

Last but by no means least, excellent use if made of Sedums throughout these borders, cool oasis’ many, now, in the green garb before rusty reds and browns colour up. Some are already looking fine, like this one, Purple Emperor

Tour de force – a tour around RHS Wisley – first up, the Herbaceous Borders The double herbaceous borders at RHS Wisley are worthy of close attention and admiration. Individual plants are to be appreciated for the well-grown specimens they are, and combinations of plants can delight and surprise as the eye bounces along each long, deep border before the grassy runway ascends Battleston Hill with all the delights that lay therein (and yes, I’ve wandered around those meandering paths this past week too and photos will follow, particularly of the hydrangeas but I’m getting ahead of myself…)
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Liatris spicata for Corte Eremo.

Dense Blazing Star. Now that’s a name… another funny one is Prairie Gay Feather. Frank Lloyd Wright loved them. Bees do, too. I’m not sure what I think of them, but they are an interesting shape. Funky purple wands. They did well at the castle.  

It was almost dark out when I was photographing these and sticking them in the ground. That’s why the images are kind of blue and blurry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liatris_spicata