Now my Mum has this little obsession. Every year she has to take a trip to the seaside. She was in Canada earlier this year when we had our summer, and since she got back it has rained incessantly, so facing the prospect of a nice, warm weekend, and since Other Half was working, we decided to take ourselves off to Lytham on the Fylde coast (south of Blackpool). We walked along the front, I was excited to spot three Little Ringed Plovers, and then we went to have a look at Lowther Gardens which have recently been given a makeover. It's your standard Victorian park, with beds, rose garden, fountain, and bowling greens, but it was the long bed at the back of this photo which caught my eye. Do click on any of the photos for a closer look.
The rectangular beds alongside the paths were planted up in vivid red or yellow begonias mainly, and very striking they were.
But when we went over to the long border, we found these mystery plants. A man was walking along the edge too, so we asked him if he knew what they were. He said he wasn't sure, but thought they may be a kind of lobelia. He was right - Lobelia Cardinalis Queen Victoria. A stunningly tall red flower, with red foliage to match. It's a half-hardy perennial in this part of the world. In this patch of planting, they had put it in front of some delphiniums, which I think was a mistake as the lobelia is taller.
But here, the delphiniums were in front and I love the combination of red, electric blue and yellow.
What was nice about the planting of the border was that it contained fairly random plant and colour combinations, with no repeats. Here we have red dahlias, lamb's ears in the foreground and white late-flowering foxgloves on the right. In other parts, there were yellow dahlias, heleniums and lower growing plants; a real mix of hardy and half-hardy perennials.
And here you can see the full sweep of this long border, with the clock in the middle and one of the rectangular beds in the foreground. A lovely border, and that lobelia is definitely on my plant list for next year! I just wish I had enough ground to be able to create something imitating this, maybe one day when I'm rich, sigh....