Holy Grail of Flower Power

dscn1157-2I’ve just come back from visiting potential clients who announced that they didn’t “like the colour green” (I could feel a headache coming on ……) and they wanted ” lots of colour all year round!” ( I am now recovering in a darkened room with lavender teabags on my eyes). For these are the words (along with ‘water  feature’ ) that strike fear into any self respecting garden designer’s heart. Why? Because the holy grail of year round colour is what every gardener wants but no-one can achieve. It’s easy to achieve a riot of colour in June as here: dscn1179-2

But in winter, colour is scarce and we have to rely on green. BUT, BUT, BUT! You can help yorself,as I do, by choosing to plant perennials that have a really long flowering season, say from May to September, like this one:Slide11

Slide12These long flowerers are generally sun lovers so plant them in your sunniest spots. And then deadhead like mad-just nipping off the spent flowers between finger and thumb as you stroll around your lovely garden in the warm evening sun, birds singing,  glass of something chilled in hand, dinner being cooked by your other half ………Aaagh-we can but dream…..

Here’s another long flowerer that seems to flower most months of the year:Slide16DSCN1126

The idea of dead heading is quite simply to stop the plant from setting seed after it’s flowered. It’s a bit like women stopping putting on lipstick after having two children-I mean, why bother????

In the same way, plants only produce showy flowers to get pollinated and  produce their own offspring (seeds). If you stop them making seeds by deadheading, they’ll go on putting on the lipstick (or flowering!). I should be called Davinia Attenborough with my own botany programme! Here’s another one:Slide2

Or you can go for a sterile hybrid that doesn’t produce any seed so they just keep on flowering on and on ( they’re a bit like your child free friends who always look fabulous, not having been up half the night feeding the offspring). In the plant world sterile means more flowers, like this one which is also beautifully compact:Slide8

or this sterile hybrid which will tolerate a bit of shade:Slide5

So why not invest in a few of these hard working perennials this month and enjoy a flowery , effort free, six months ahead- but only if you plant in sun and dead head remember! I’d love to hear of your own recommendations for long flowerers – why not contact me via ‘leave a reply’ at the end of this page and we can all share them? Happy choosing!Slide14Slide15


Knautia macedonica



  1. Origanum laevigatum ‘Herrenhausen’: this Origanum has impact because of the amazing colour of the flowers, which the bees went mad for! Last year, on a raised south-facing bed, we had flowers from the end of May well into September.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Heather, that’s a great suggestion- I grew it once myself and it was fantastic for the bees as you say.


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