Hot stuff

The recent hot weather drew our attention to the narrow border that butts up to the back of the cottage at Genus HQ.  South facing, and with well drained soil it’s been a natural choice for us when it comes to planting heat loving, drought tolerant plants.
One of the first plants to express appreciation of its well chosen spot is the rock-rose Helianthemum ‘The Bride’ (pictured).  Planted last year it has already doubled in size and its flowers with white petals brighten to a beautiful central golden eye (pictured).  With the looks of a plant that has originated from the Mediteranean it’s a surprise to find that we have native species in the UK that thrive in shallow calcareous soils on limestone and chalk grassland.
Other plants in this border include the ever popular lavender ‘Hidcote’, Eryngium a type of sea holly, Cistus - another member of  the rock-rose family, and Iris who love to have their finger-like, surface dwelling rhizomes baked by the hot sun.
If we had more space there are plenty of other plants we’d love to add that would thrive in this location. Tall wiry Knautia macedonica, Sedum, now renamed as Hylotelephium, and many of the salvias - we particularly like the tireless ‘Flower Child’ that seems to perform well all summer whenever we’ve seen it.  We can't forget the tall eye catching Salvia involucrata ‘Bethellii’ which boasts striking pumped up tubular flowers in a strong pink.
The list of course could go on but with last week's heat wave now in the distant past and with rain knocking on the roof lights while we write, it seems our attention should turn to bog plants rather than the sun-baked, heat seekers of Provence.