Yes, it’s been a long, hot summer and yes, the summer flowers are starting to struggle a bit but there’s still plenty going on in the garden.
The other day I heard someone say that Gaura lindheimeri is much-loved by butterflies. But I think she was confused by the plant’s common name of butterfly bush, which comes from the way the flowers move about, not that they are particularly attractive to butterflies.
For the past couple of years I have trained my plant up through a stake and hoop system (bought from The Warehouse) to stop the long stems flopping all over the place. The effect now is rather like an explosion of flowers.
In the past I have tried the more strongly coloured hybrids and found them to be short lived, while the original pale pink variety just goes on and on. I cut the plant – a North American wildflower – back to the ground when it starts to look past its best.
A few years ago a friend who was cleaning out an old garden to establish her own gave me some Amaryllis belladonna (naked lady) bulbs. Completely by accident I planted them in exactly the right place – full sun with good drainage. The strappy foliage is nice and lush, and the messy dying back period lasts only for a short while.
The flower, as the common name suggests, comes after the foliage so are “naked” on a single stem. Mine are all white flowers, but there are also pink-flowered ones. I once divided a large clump of bulbs but found they “sulked” for a year or so before coming back into flower.
Liriope muscari plants flower from summer into autumn and are good for a shady spot. The plants (they look like they might be bulbs, but aren’t) are easy to divide once they clump up and have a long flowering period. Locally, Ace Mondo offers a range of colours.
Ozbreed has developed Liriope Isabella, which the company promotes as an easy-care grass alternative for a lawn – it needs mowing only once a year!