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Summer Sizzlers

Inca Lilies are stunning summer perennialsSo many people ask what the difference is between perennials and annuals. Annuals are seasonal bedding plants that provide masses of colour but only for a short period. Still incredible value for money when one considers how long they look good and for the show they provide. Perennials are groundcovers and plants that last a few years providing colour every year. Some flower continuously through a season others give a spectacular show and then revert to being foliage colour for the rest of the year.

As the summer heats up there are some great perennials and plants that come to the fore.

Inca lilies

Alstromeria are known as Inca Lilies in South Africa. The compact dwarf varieties are available in a variety of colours and are well suited to container growing or as a border edging perennial. The Princess varieties have been available for a few years now but all new is the variety "Miss" which has even larger flowers on compact stems.

Best grown in half-sun to semi-shade they are water wise and flower through summer. There are many special colours to collect make a perfect alternative to a bunch of flowers as a hostess gift this party season.Must have - Sunset Star Jasmine

Star Jasmine Summer Sunset

All new and something quite unusual is the Star Jasmine "Summer Sunset" No two leaves are alike on this unusual climber. The leaves are a combination of rust to amber tones combined with greens and oranges - just like an African sunset.

Plant them in as much sun as possible to get the best out of the colours. They make excellent container specimens where they will climb up a small trellis or frame and planted in the garden they can also double as a groundcover in sun to half-day sun.

A regular trim will encourage a flush of fresh new leaves which show off the unusual colours.Ajuga spreads to cover the soil

Carpet Bugle

I have grown carpet bugle in my garden since I was a teenage gardener :-) They are so easy and give a lush texture to any bed. Known as Ajuga they are available in a variety of different leaf colours and through midsummer all varieties flower with spikes of purple to blue flowers.
Best in semi-shade they will also grow in half-day sun where they become a spreading groundcover.Smell the chocolate blue heliotrope

Fragrant Heliotrope

Heliotrope are so old fashioned they are back in fashion! This typical English garden perennial will flower right through summer and adds something different from the norm. They are fragrant and the bees love them which are very good for the rest of the garden, especially veggies that need the pollinators.

The Blue ones have a slight chocolate fragrance which is most unusual. Plant them in a sunny spot where they will grow almost a meter wide and just over a foot high.

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