If there's one plant that can inject a little razzle-dazzle into the border during a gloomy summer, it is Helenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer'.
This provides a vibrant mix of orange and sunshine-yellow daisies, tempered by warm-brown centres, from June until October. Every striped flower differs slightly in pattern and colour and appears to shimmer in the border, outshining other drabber heleniums. It is known as common sneezeweed because the Cherokee Indians used to make the dried flowers into a herbal snuff as a cure for colds and catarrh.
'Sahin's Early Flowerer' is a glorious colour, is self-supporting and has proved a vigorous performer, tolerant of my drier conditions. Even in extremely hot summers, when I have had to revive it with buckets of water on occasions, it has performed well. It is particularly stunning in autumn when the rich colours shine out in the clear, sharp light. It also charmed the RHS Floral Committee; 'Sahin's Early Flowerer' was awarded an AGM in the 1999-2001 trial despite being very new. All heleniums respond to deadheading so take off any spent flowers as they fade. More will appear.
Grows 3-4 ft high