July 2012 saw me on a visit to RHS Garden Wisley to spend a week working with the team; I also spent some time with Heather Cooke who was busy collecting seed at the time. What resulted was her giving me a selection of colourful seed which I set forth to sow.
Last year there were glimpses of glorious technicolor, but this year is full on dazzlement (is that a word?). There are some Oenothera fruticosa subsp. glauca which you need sun glasses to look at, these are interspersed with the shocking pink Dianthus carthusianorum, and how shocking it is. Not to be outdone is the Echium vulgare, a beautiful blue and pink hue, and Stipa tenuissima grasses waving gracefully in the wind.
In between all that is a diminuitive little penstemon, a more muted orange-red - not colours you’d wear together but they work in the garden, and the public think so too as they are constantly asking about them.
The icing on the cake however is the statuesque Onopordum acanthium (Scotch thistle to us) which is actually a biennial, but once established, self-seeds freely. Its silver spiky leaves are easily standing over one and a half metres (5 feet) high and I have been delighted by it popping out its first beautiful purple floret, perfectly formed and instantly adored by many insects. I am as proud as punch and can’t wait for more.
Click here to also read Sabatino Urzo's blog about RHS Garden Wisley's Mediterranean Walk