Enthusiasm for agastaches began in earnest in the 1990s and has been growing ever since. At first it was those varieties popularised by garden designer Piet Oudolf, the tall hardy perennial types from Asia and northern parts of North America, most often with blue and purple flowers. You can see them in the Piet Oudolf-inspired borders at RHS Garden Wisley.
More recently the focus has turned to the shorter, more drought-tolerant types derived from species native to California and Mexico, with large flowers often in fiery shades.
Both groups give us colourful spikes of flowers and aromatic foliage, but it is in this second group that most of the development is now taking place: extending the range of colours and increasing the hardiness and drought tolerance being the main targets of the plant breeders.
The Kudos Series is the latest advance. Reaching about 50cm (20in) in height when in full flower, and branching well from the base, the plants are hardier than previous varieties of this type and, perhaps more importantly, are more tolerant of cold, wet winter soil. They’re also resistant to downy mildew and are amongst the best of all hardy perennials for attracting pollinating insects.
They flower from June to September, four varieties are available by mail order: ‘Kudos Ambrosia’ has orange buds that open to pink; ‘Kudos Coral’ has coral red flowers that mature to coral pink; ‘Kudos Mandarin’ has fiery orange buds opening to paler orange flowers; and Agastache ‘Kudos Silver Blue’ has pale blue buds and flowers. ‘Kudos Gold’ has dark orange buds that open to paler orange-gold and be found in one or two outlets, ‘Kudos Yellow’, with yellow buds and flowers, is not yet available in Britain.
This series was developed by Janet Egger of Terra Nova Nurseries in Oregon, who has developed a wide range of fine perennials in recent years.
All the plants in the Kudos Series enjoy full sun and are happy in borders or in pots.
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