Helenium autumnale with a beautiful blue sky behind is just what we need to see on grim day in August. What we need is a little bit of sunshine therapy. This photo was taken earlier in the week when summer was doing what it is supposed to do. Hopefully it will remember its role in the next few days.
The nursery myself and Hero visited a couple of weeks ago, Sampford Shrubs, holds the National Collection of heleniums and they are exhibited in their adjacent Holbrook Garden to great effect. Found in the wild in Northern America, these plants are used extensively in prairie planting schemes along with other herbaceous perennials such as rudbeckia and ornamental grasses. The common name of sneezeweed refers to snuff made from the leaves which was used to expel evil spirits along with an enormous great sneeze. They are excellent plants for late summer colour and if you can protect the first scrumptious growth from slugs and snails it pretty much looks after itself. They range in colour from reddish brown through to lemon yellow and all combinations between, including bi-colours. In height they can vary from 1ft to 5ft so really there is no excuse for not growing it in any garden.