House & Garden UK
House & Garden’s garden editor Clare Foster heralds the return of four formerly frumpy flowers that are back in the most fashionable gardens.
Once seen as the ultimate in tastelessness, they are deeply fashionable again. ‘Hillcrest Royal’, a lipstick-pink cactus dahlia, was brought into the limelight by Christopher Lloyd; ‘Café Au Lait’ is now one of the most popular varieties.
Popular gardener Sarah Raven has helped bring them back into favour with tasteful colours, including plum and cream. Simpler forms such as Gladiolus byzantinus are very of the moment: smaller and more delicate than some hybrids, it has beautiful magenta flowers.
Do not be put off by the sad-looking, cellophane-wrapped specimens found in garage forecourts: there are so many more varieties to grow in gorgeous colours. Try ‘Froggy’ or the sumptuous ‘Payton Blaze Red’.
Having gone in and out of fashion like the traditional herbaceous borders they belong in, giant, towering delphiniums are less desirable than smaller species.