BEST OF THE BUNCH - Cosmos
These dainty annuals, with their feathery leaves and large, daisy-like flowers in shades of pink and white, are easy to grow from seed and make a great addition to the border. They fill in spaces where earlier summer blooms have faded and are also great for cutting.
There are many varieties, some of which grow to around 1.8m (6ft) although the more common types in garden centres at this time of year grow to around 60cms (2ft). There are also perennial types, most notably the Cosmos atrosanguineus, a chocolate-scented, bronze-flowered type which is often grown in borders alongside deep red dahlias and sizzling orange crocosmias.
Cosmos thrive in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Deadhead regularly to encourage flowers, which can last until October. Good choices are ‘Gazebo Mixed’, with blooms in velvet red, rose-pink and pure white, and C. bipinnatus ‘Dazzler’, which is carmine.