This Month in the Garden, August 2022, with Kate Hill

A very old favourite flowering now is Agapanthus ‘Peter Pan’ which I bought over 25 years ago on a visit to RHS Wisley and, as its name suggests, it is not as tall as the deep blue varieties. The flowers are a pale sky blue with a deeper stripe down the centre.
I once tried planting it in the ground when it outgrew its pot but all I got was a mass of leaves but no flowers, so it was lifted and split into two pots and had flowered ever since. Each plant is split every few years with surplus plants passed onto friends and family. It is classed as one of the evergreen varieties although by the end of winter the foliage can look a bit the worse for wear, but the plants bounce back readily enough.
A few years ago I grew a couple of plants from seed just to see what colour the flowers would be, as they tend not to ‘come true’ to the parent plant. One does have the same blue flowers the other has white.
The lavateria plants, shown left, I bought a couple of years ago are looking their best this month. They were sold as the patio variety ‘Barnsley Baby’ which should only grow to a maximum height of 4’6” (1.5m). However, one of the plants has deep pink blooms rather than pale pink so I don’t know what variety that is but never mind, they look good together and cutting them back in spring keeps them compact.
A perennial I wouldn’t want to be without is Gillenia trifoliata (also known as Bowman’s root), shown left. It may not be a showstopper, having delicate starry white flowers on reddish stems but it is an elegant plant and, as can be seen in the photo, it has red calyces which look like small berries once the flowers have finished. It prefers to be out of full sun so is useful for lighting up a semi-shaded area.
A friend and I visited the garden at Stoke Albany House, (LE16 8PT), pictured below, which is open each year in June and July under the NGS yellow book open gardens scheme. The main flower border is beautifully colour-coordinated starting with yellow and orange flowers moving through red, purple, blue and pink. Each time I visit I marvel at the skill of whoever planned such a long border. It also has a serene white garden, a rose garden, vegetable patch and many interesting trees. It is well worth the £6 entry fee which goes to charities supported by the National Garden Scheme.