Swirling in at number one, doing the Jarabe tapatio; the Mexican Hat Dance, we have Tigridia pavonia.
The Tigridia comes from Mexico. From the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa we have another bulb, Albuca shawii. It has deliciously fragrant, little yellow lanterns smelling of almonds and it is easy from seed. Mine live in the cold greenhouse but I am going to try some in the gravel garden to test for hardiness outside.
Number three has to be a lily. I love lilies and so I persevere even though lily beetle is a terrible problem. I don’t use a bug killer because even though the one generally used for lily beetle no longer contains the neonicotinoid; thiacloprid , it now contains deltamethrin instead. I don’t imagine this is very good for bees and other pollinators or for me either. So I have to pick them off by hand and squash them with my fingers which is revolting. It is also unnerving, as on the odd occasion, they appear to scream, or squeak in alarm as you attack them. It makes you feel an awful brute. But still, it is worth it if it means I get to enjoy the beautiful Asiatic lily ‘Night Flyer’ which is the deepest, darkest red.
Number four is another dark-coloured flower, or rather spathe. It is the weird -looking Arisaema costatum. It looks like a striped cobra-head with a long sinister tail.
Verbascums get unsightly foliage as they are attacked by the Mullein Moth but it is worth persevering with the beautiful Verbascum x hybridum ‘Snow Maiden’. Mine is cream rather than the more usual snowy white.
Another white flower which is really easy from seed is the whiter than Persil -white, corncockle, Agrostemma githago ‘Milas Snow Queen’ . The corncockle is no longer found in cornfields as all parts of it are poisonous. But I am not going to eat it and if you can exercise similar restraint then this pretty flower comes highly recommended; it is easy from seed and the satiny flowers with their little pencil dots are delightful.
Another easy plant from seed is the short-lived perennial, Catananche caerula. It is sky- blue with dark centres and the flowers have lovely silvery bracts. I have read that you can dry it, so I might have a go. The common name is ‘Cupid’s Dart’ Why Cupid should have blue darts I don’t know.
Another plant grown from seed is the lovely dahlia which I feature every year as I love it so much. Its grandmother was ‘The Bishop of Llandaff’ and I tried to get darker and darker children by throwing away the wishy -washy, paler red offspring and keeping the dark ones. I am particularly pleased with this one as it is very dark, (darker than it looks in the photo) and it has darker stripes down the petals.
For number nine I have chosen the lovely long spikes of Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’. It blooms for ages, bees love it and I think it looks good echoing the spires of the Buddleia behind.
And now we come to number ten and I was hard pushed to pick out a favourite.
Romneya coulteri with its gleaming white flowers was a contender but they are disfigured by an attack of pollen beetle at the moment. I might have chosen the dainty ‘Dierama pendulum x pulcherimmum, Angel’s Fishing Rod, but it was so windy today, it wouldn’t stay in focus. So I am going for a foxglove. I love foxgloves and grow quite a few different ones. This one is Digitalis lanata. The flowers are rusty, veined inside and have a long white lip.
It is silly trying to pick favourite flowers when there are so many beauties vying for attention, but still it’s fun and next month I shall do another Top Ten Blooms of the Month and perhaps you will join me and show me yours.