The root of 3

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Three plants that look good together:

Achillea filipendulina 'Gold Plate'

Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'.

Not many of us have the room in our gardens (or the necessary spare time) to accommodate that quintessential feature of the British garden in high summer - the herbaceous border. We have to settle for smaller groups of perennials, perhaps among shrubs, which will give us at least something of that feel.

These three plants will do just that. Easy to grow and utterly hardy, they will flower over a long period in hues of yellow, gold and copper, with contrasting flower shapes.

At 5ft, the tallest is the Yarrow, Achillea filipendulina "Gold Plate", named after Achilles who was taught its wound-healing properties. At its base it has grey-green, feathery leaves, from which rise strong, leafy stems. These are topped by flat, long-lasting, yellow flower-heads - gold plates - some 5in across, made up of tiny daisy-like blooms, packed tightly together. If you can bear to take them from your garden, they are excellent for cutting and drying. If "Gold Plate" seems a little too tall, there are others, such as "Coronation Gold", which have similar golden-yellow flowers but are shorter in stature.

In descending order of height, the 3ft high Sneezeweed or Helen's flower, Helenium "Moerheim Beauty", comes next.

Reputed to have sprung from soil watered by Helen of Troy's tears, whatever its history, it is an indispensable perennial. The leaves and stems are mid-green and plain but they are weighed down over a long period by masses of daisy flowers 3ins across. Each has a prominent dark-brown, velvety centre like a raised button, encircled by coppery red, broad, silky petals. Rather like upturned shuttlecocks, these daisies make an effective contrast to the flat silhouettes of the Achillea.

Smaller than either of its companions, the reliable Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii "Goldsturm", reaches more than 2ft. It also flowers over a long period but begins a later and continues until autumn. Its flowers are similar to the Helenium but larger - a central raised cone of black-brown (its black eye) surrounded by slender rays of golden-yellow petals.

All three need sun and will tolerate a range of soils, but they are happiest where it is fertile, moist and well drained. Give them these conditions and they will reward you with larger, more abundant flowers over a longer period.

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