Plants - Perennials

Bold skyscraper plants

Make a statement with towering plants for your garden

Big is beautiful
Big is beautiful, according to Trevor Ashbee. Every garden should include tall plants “because they make such an impact.” All of these are perennials (some are short-lived in his garden) for full sun. The heights indicated are those reached in his garden.

Angelica gigas [shown] Purple stalks, with huge dill-like flower heads; 2 m, Zone 4

Milky bellflower (Campanula lactiflora) One of the taller bellflowers, with lavender-blue flowers; 1.5 m, Zone 5

C. ‘Van-Houtteii' A conver-sation-piece campanula, with gorgeous clusters of large, helmet-shaped flowers in two shades of violet; 1 m, Zone 4

Giant knapweed [shown on previous page] (Centaurea macrocephala) A boisterous biggie with fat, thistle-like flower heads; spiky, cheery yellow petals; 1.5 m, Zone 3

Colewort (Crambe cordifolia) Glorious clouds of white flowers on dainty stalks; 2.5 m, Zone 6

Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) Towering stalks topped by purple, thistle-like flowers; 2.5 m, Zone 7

Fuller's teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) Thistle-like flowers on stems up to 2 m, Zone 5

Inula spp. Spreading clumps of tall stalks topped by spiky, daisy-like flowers. I. hookeri has lemon yellow flowers (75 cm, Zone 4). I. racemosa has golden yellow blooms (2.5 m, Zone 6)

Plume poppy (Macleaya cordata) Magnificent swaths abound in Trevor's garden; produces elegantly shaped leaves in grey-green, topped by frothy cream flowers in summer; 2.5 m, Zone 4

Mallow (Malva sylvestris) Purplish pink flowers; 1.2 m, Zone 5

Musk mallow (M. moschata) Pale pink or white flowers; 1.5 m, Zone 4

Chinese rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) A ravishing relative of garden rhubarb. In spring, it unfurls toothy leaves the size of golf umbrellas, followed by stunning flower plumes in red; 2.5 m, Zone 5

Rudbeckia ‘HERBSTSONNE' Late-blooming spreader with bright yellow flowers; 2 m, Zone 3

R. maxima Similar to ‘Herbstsonne' but flowers are a different shade of yellow, with protruding brown centres; 2 m, Zone 4

Mullein (Verbascum ‘Cotswold Beauty') Prolific, large, creamy flowers; 1.5 m, Zone 5

Read more in Plants and Perennials

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