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Talkback: Summer flowers: a personal Top 10

I haven't been able to do anything in the garden for months because we didn't have two consecutive days without rain during October, November or early December then we have had snow since 17th December.
The snow finally disappeared on Saturday and I spent a truly magic couple of hours gardening in the sunshine yesterday afternoon (Sunday). It felt all the more sweet because it was so long since I had been able to do it.
I have made a note of some of the plants you have listed and will be looking for them during the coming months to fill some of the inevitable gaps the snow has caused.


  • Sounds like some pretty scrumptious plants although I make one of the best chocolate cakes in the South(USA) if the store has enough butter that day.
  • Nice post, James. My list was straight off the top of my head, done on intuition, rather than thinking. I'd certainly add every one of yours to it. Snow I love, but dull, grey, no-freeze-no-thaw days make me totally miserable.

    However, last Saturday, as the snow receded, I spotted the first winter aconites in a front garden in our village. What joy! And how uplifting? I'd have to add those to my list too. Indeed, I think I'll work up a list of little chap, next.
  • Isn't it good to see those lovely flowers in your mind's eye? I have a powerpoint presentation I keep adding to each year on my computer, which I look at when the weather keeps me out of the garden. I call it "The Wow Factor" and there are some lovely photos of single or combinations of plants which always make me go "Wow"
  • I've been doing the same thing, leafing through magazines and catalogues immersing myself in the wonderful colours.

    The last couple of days is the first time I've actually been able to see my garden in a month, it's been under 8 inches of snow for 4 weeks. Now the snow has receeded, I am left with a soggy flattened mess that is in desperate need of some tidying, and some colour!
  • I have definitely been feeling the Winter blues. Chocolate may be my quick fix, but getting out into the fresh air is always preferable for me. The one thing I hate about the winter is the short daylight hours, just when I think I have the whole day I have to come indoors because I can't see in front of my nose. Today I managed to get out and clear up the last of those leaves which I never managed to do before the Winter's rain, frost and snow. While I was examining which plants has suffered from the heavy snow I was delighted to find the Spring bulbs are pushing through. It is always so amazing how tough these plants can be, Crocus, Daffodils and Snowdrops can never be deterred. The shortest day has gone so it can only get better from now on.
  • Lord that helianthus sounds terrifying -- 8 feet tall, really? Is there any way to, you know, keep it shorter? I'm on the hunt for a late October/November performer, because -- well, it's a long story. The thalictrum is also floating my boat, but I don't think it's a late autumn star. If there are any other very late autumn performers that would've been your longer list, I'd love to hear them.

    Sheila Averbuch
  • Marilyn - thanks for your comment.

    You obviously use a superior form of all organic bag. Mine don't rot and lie about the garden, empty and spent, for years until I pick them up. (I was taken to task by a reader for recommending that tea bags should be composted, a year or two ago, and that was what alerted me to the problem.

    The nitrogen content of a tea bag would be pretty minimal, so leaving them out of the compost won't exactly penalise the soil or ruin the planet.
  • What about knautia macedonica. Don't you just love those dark red little button heads! They look so pretty sprawling in amongst the more stately flowers of summer and last such a long time. What good value they give, and for so little in return. You have to love them.
  • If you have the space for something tall and elegant, that lasts until late Autumn I have found Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'. It has a multitude of soft yellow large daisey like flowers, which may need a bit of staking in strong winds, but look wonderful as a back drop in ones border. They have a more subtle yellow than their sunflower counterparts. They gave me a great deal of cheer towards the end of the gardening year.
  • Lotus is a National Flower of India. Lotus is a very beautiful flower.

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