Crocosmia paniculata (or Montbretia as it used to be called) is another plant that thrives on our heavy clay soil. It flowers for several months and the seed heads provide interest to the autumn border. I cut it back to ground level when all the leaves have died back.

Crocosmia or Montbretia

I love sedums, they grow so well in our garden and require little attention. This is a low-growing, evergreen sedum which the bees have been buzzing around all day. After flowering I cut off the dead flower heads and pull up some of the plant if it spreads too far.

Pink sedum

Thalictrum delavayi is just starting to flower and caught my eye today, along with the spider’s web suspended between the buds. Thalictrum, commonly known as Meadow rue,  is such a delicate looking plant, with leaves like maidenhair fern, but it not only survives on our heavy clay soil, but positively thrives! It flowers all summer long and when foliage dies back, I cut it right down to the ground. It regrows the following Spring – with possibly a new seedling or two nearby.

Thalictrum ©

This is an easy to grow perennial flower for a sunny aspect, which flowers from early summer to well into the autumn. The clumps of Knautia (pronounced ‘naughtier’) do get large and sprawl about, so give them plenty of room. The crimson pompom flowers are a big hit with bees and butterflies and the seed heads are loved by the birds. It self-seeds prolifically and I often replace the large clumps with younger specimens. It can be affected by powdery mildew, however I simply cut back the stems and allow to re-grow.

Bumble Bee on Knautia macedonica flower

Eryngium giganteum, also known as Giant Sea Holly, is a dramatic addition to the flower border. Its flower heads are surrounded by a rosette of very spiny silvery-grey bracts, which seem to glow in the evening light. As with most grey foliage plants, it likes a sunny situation. Once in flower, the bees go mad for it! It is a short-lived perennial but a good self-seeder.

This variety is named after an Edwardian plantswoman and gardener Miss Ellen Willmott, who allegedly used to sprinkle the seeds of this, her favourite plant, in other people’s gardens!

Eryngium giganteum</p><br /><br />
<p>Miss Willmott's ghost

This flower looks good in dried flower arrangements.