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6 Aug 2020

Highlight plants at Brodick Castle gardens this August

Written by Tim Keyworth, Gardens & Designed Landscapes Manager, Ayrshire & Arran
In the foreground are purple spikes of flowers, with a lawn mown with diagonal 'saltires'. In the background is Brodick Castle under a blue sky.
Looking up towards the castle from the walled garden (note the saltires mown into the grass!)
It’s been great to see visitors exploring the gardens and estate at Brodick since the grounds reopened in July. And now that the Isle Be Wild play park is open again, it’s terrific to see so many families enjoying the gardens.

Melianthus major

A flower border, with red hot pokers and the deeply cut leaves of Melianthus major. Brodick Castle is in the background under a blue sky.
The deeply cut leaves of Melianthus major give borders an exotic feel

Commonly known as the honey flower, this magnificent plant from South Africa is perfect for giving borders an exotic feel. It can be grown outside in mild regions or plunge-planted in colder climates. It’s worth growing for the striking and unusual grey-green leaves, but the maroon flower spikes (if they appear) are a spectacular added bonus!

It prefers moist but well-drained soil and shelter from cold winds and can be pruned hard to keep it in shape.

At Brodick you can see it in the borders that run down the length of the upper lawns in the walled garden.

Actaea simplex ‘Atropurpurea Group’

A purple-leaved plant in the foreground, with grasses and red hot pokers behind.
The purple foliage of the baneberry works well with red hot pokers

Another plant grown for its stunning leaf colour is the baneberry. The purple foliage works very nicely with the spikes of the Kniphofia (red hot poker) and adds a lovely contrast to the foliage of grasses and other shades of green.

This is a fairly easy to grow herbaceous perennial, which does best in moist soil enriched by organic matter. Flower spikes with clusters of scented small white flowers appear later in the season, but be wary of the berries it produces as they are poisonous.

You can see these plants in the walled garden, where they help to provide a fabulous display in the upper lawns.

Inula hookeri

Close-up of the yellow daisy-like flowers of Inula hookeri.
The striking daisy-like flowers of Inula hookeri

Inula hookeri is a must-have plant in your garden. Its bold, yellow daisy-like flowers can be up to 8cm across and provide a colourful display. They’re also loved by butterflies and bees.

Don’t be fooled though – this herbaceous perennial needs space and can be rampant if left unchecked. But it’s easy to lift, split and divide in the dormant season.

This plant has overtaken a shady corner in the walled garden, located not far from the lower gate. It isn’t easily missed!

Tritonia ‘Rosea’ (Tritonia disticha subsp. rubrolucens)

Pink flower spikes growing among tall purple flowers.
A lovely display of pink monbretia growing alongside Verbena bonariensis

This dainty pink monbretia is full of grace and elegance and is one of my favourite flowers at the moment. It originates from South Africa and just now is looking particularly good planted alongside the tall flower spikes of Verbena bonariensis.

It will flower for the next couple of months and can be easily split and divided to make further clumps in the autumn. I think it works particularly well alongside grasses and in prairie-style planting schemes.

See this lovely display in the walled garden not far from the sundial.

Salvia ‘Amistad’

Close-up of purple salvia plants growing against a stone wall.
Bees love the purple spikes of this salvia

Put simply, this has to be one of the very best salvias in cultivation. It’s an absolute beauty that’s hard to beat. The large, deep purple flowers produce a striking display and bees love them.

It prefers a sunny spot with a bit of shelter, and like many salvias will benefit from a bit of a prune once new growth starts to show in spring. If looked after, this plant will reward you for much of the summer season – and it’s great for cut flowers too!

You’ll find these in the Tresco borders just outside the lower gate to the walled garden.

We look forward to welcoming you to the garden and country park – please remember to check opening times on our website before you visit.

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