As requested by Jeni, I am posting a wider picture of the sunflowers I have been trialling for Which? Gardening. There are three plants here (known only as ‘A’) with each sturdy stem seemingly producing four heads, and at around 1.2m tall they make a useful contribution to the right hand hot border – but flowering earlier than this would have been even better, to add a contrast to the earlier crocosmia. I haven’t grown a sunflower successfully from seed for years, but would happily grow these again or ones of a similar height and colour, although I would also like to try the mahogany ones again that I started from seed this year but which failed to survive once they were planted out.
I have had so many positive comments and several questions about Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ that I can’t remember who had asked what. I was asked about the size, which this year has been a spread of around 2m and a height of 1.5 m or more, and also if it needed to be pruned. Well, I was unsure about the pruning and couldn’t recall whether it dies back in winter either, so I looked on the RHS website and was amazed that it supposedly grows to a height of 0.75m with a spread of 1m – I don’t think so!! Not this year, anyway, although others bloggers have mentioned the unusually vigorous growth of their persicarias this year. I don’t recall having cut it back before but the website suggests doing this in autumn, so I am guessing it must die back over winter and it doesn’t seem to stand out on my winter and spring photos from last year so I suppose it must do. It has always been a striking plant, one I have had for about 7 or 8 years, I think, but this year has been magnificent with its contrasting marked leaves and insignificant and late white flowers.