Liatris spicata

Blazing Star ■ Gayfeather ■ Spike Qayfeather (UK) Blazing Star Button Snakeroot Gay-feather (USA) This hardy, tuberous-rooted, herbaceous perennial has small strap-like, narrow, mid-green leaves. II bears dense. 15-30cm (6-12in) long, paintbrush like spikes of pinkish-purple flowers during late summer and early autumn on stiff, leafy stems. A similar plant, Liatris caililepis has bright carmine flower ^eads. The form Kobold' is even more attractive with frothy bright carmine flower spikes, often up to 30cm rift) ¡ong It grows well even on poor soil. When planted in a small grouping, it creates a superb splash of mid-summer colour This attractive variety has the advantage of growing to only 60cm (2ft) high, whereas the original species, Liatris caililepis, rises to 90cm [3ft] and requires much more room, being better positioned in a flower border than n a rock garden Another species. Liatris gramlnifolia. is not so widely growri During late summer and nto early autumn it produces purple flower spikes, surrounded by rather sparse leaves attractively covered with white spots. This species has the advantage of growing well in poor and dry soils. Height: 60-90cm ¡2-3« Spread: 38-45cm [15-1 Sin) Cultivation: Ordinary garden soil-not too heavy-and a position in full sun suit the Blazing Star. Propagation: During spring iJt and divide established clumps. To ensure the clumps are readily identified, mark them inauiumn A iter natively, wait until late spring before dividing them, when the young shoots will be apparent.

Liatris spicata is ioeal for the front of a mixed or herbaceous border. Suitable companions include Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia) Bergenia Siloerlicht' and the Oregon Grape Mahonia aguifolium

Above. Linum narbonense

Although tall this Fiax is suitable for a rock garden. The /lowers, borne at the ends of long stems, appear throughout summer:

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