Here’s something to celebrate if you can pronounce the names, otherwise just think of hardy plumbago – the ground cover or the shrubby sort.

This one is the shrub Ceratostigma willmottianum with its fabulous electric blue flowers and neat foliage which has russety hues of deep purple later on, just like the ground cover variety called Ceratostigma plumbaginoides or blue-flowered leadwort if that’s easier.

These Chinese natives are two of the most reliable and undemanding plants I know but then we do have light and free-draining soil which suits them. Both flower from August through to October when other flowers are fading fast.

I love the contrast with Stipa lessingiana, the Lessing feather grass, which will soon reach a metre but flops over gracefully instead of being upright. It comes from the wonderful The Plantsman’s Preference (sorry women) where you can find grasses you never even thought of. You can literally comb through the tactile and silvery panicles and I like to make a straight cut across the top when I feel like sprucing them up a bit. They seem to thrive on it.