JOHN’S JOURNAL

Hot Colour with Crocosmias

Colour is such a powerful thing in any garden and the use of it can really have a big impact on a planting scheme, some people love all colours whilst others veer away from some, yellow being one in particular which is a love or hate for many…. so when you look at the Crocosmias with their fiery reds, oranges or yellows they can really add drama to any summer planting, as long as they are used in the right way!

So what works well with Crocosmias? Sometimes it can be tricky making hot colours look right but it just comes down to the colours and textures that you combine with them, so add in some grasses like Stipa tenuissima or commonly known as Pony Tail grass, brown Carex can also look good giving a very natural feel and this also compliments their grassy like leaves, then to add some depth and relief from the hot colours work in some blues from plants like Agapanthus, Scabious, Phlox and then finally look at combining Crocosmias with other hot colours, Echinaceas work well with their daisy like flowers, find plants with yellow in them like the Leucanthemums and Kalimeris and this way they all have something in common.

I built up a collection of over 140 different Crocosmias back when I was 14, getting myself on BBC Gardeners world and also in the RHS Garden Magazine doing great guns for the nursery and now we still grow a great selection, we have thinned out the collection somewhat to a good 60 different types that are clearly distinct but they are beautiful plants. Originating from South Africa and very easy to grow, they love a sunny south or west facing aspect and dig them up and split them every 3 years along with feeding annually in the Spring to help give them vigour and energy to produce impressive displays of flower later on in the Summer.

There’s lots of different heights available with one of the tallest being C.Lucifer (above in the photo) standing at just over 4ft tall and then down to short varieties like C. Irish Dawn a beautiful golden yellow form holding its head at 2ft tall, along with every size in between. They also make great pot plants as well and that way you really can play around with the colour scheme!

So if you want to be inspired not only with how to use the hot colours of Crocosmias but to see how many other plants are looking their best at this time of year then pop up to the nursery, a frameyard filled with flowers awaits you…..