Garden Update: The late, great show

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The Independent Online
THE Pan Garden Plants series by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix has, deservedly, been a huge success. Late Perennials (Pan pounds 17.50) is the most recent addition and covers more than 1,250 plants that flower in the late summer and autumn: hostas, day lilies, red hot pokers, astilbes, phlox (and rather surprisingly, poppies, which I would have put at the other end of the summer).

The photographs are generous - good for identification - and include not only portraits of plants as they grow in English gardens, but images of them growing in their native habitats. The photograph of Salvia hians flowering in Kashmir in July is stunning enough to put me off ever growing it again in the tame surroundings of south-west England.

And fennel, which seems so ordinary in a herb garden, becomes wildly exotic when you gaze at the photograph of its cousin flowering in the Amankutan hills near Samarkand. Plants have pasts which are usually more glorious than their presents.

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