Echinaceas make August very special, with their strong-stemmed large daisy flowers. In their native America they thrive on very cold winters and hot summers, so hardiness is not a problem. However warm winters can cause problems, because they start into growth precociously. The easiest to grow are the seed-raised strains such E. purpurea ‘Magnus ’ or ‘ White Swan’. These can be grown with the dark-leaved Sedum telephium (Atropurpureum Group) 'Purple Emperor' with the grassy fluffy caterpillars of Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln'. Their almost golden middles make them highly useful in the garden because they seem to mix with anything.

The vibrant red-pink ‘Vintage Wine’ has an enormous central disc and short-ray petals. The green and pink ‘Green Envy’ has petals that fade from pink to green and this is superb used with the lacy green leaves of Selinum wallichianum, a handsome August-flowering white umbellifer with mauve sheathing. Or try the fragrant short pink 'Kim's Knee High', with its many stems of smaller daisies.

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