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28 October 2014
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Gold Medal

Dahlia 'David Howard'
Dahlia 'David Howard'

Even if you don't normally like dahlias, you're sure to be swayed by the smokey dark foliage and contrasting rich orange flowers of 'David Howard'. It looks fabulous in late summer border and in cut-flower displays. Lift the tubers after the first frosts and bring indoors to overwinter in a frost-free place. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Kniphofia 'Tawny King'
Kniphofia 'Tawny King'
Red-hot poker

'Tawny King' is an extremely popular white because the mid- to late summer flowers open from tawny brown buds from the base up, and the flowers stand out against the dark bronze stems - a good choice among the flashier hothouse orange and red pokers. There are plenty more pokers to give an extra show through September and October, especially the orange-red 'Prince Igor' and the huge, 240cm-high Kniphofia uvaria 'Nobilis'. All like rich, moist ground.

Agapanthus africanus
Agapanthus africanus
African blue lily

A clump-forming, evergreen perennial with strap-like leaves. In late summer, trumpet-shaped, deep blue flowers are produced in rounded umbels. Plants work well when planted en masse in the border or in a large container on the patio. They enjoy a sunny position in moist but well-drained soil.

Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'
Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'

Although commonly known as English lavender, the species actually hails from the Mediterranean, and can reach up to 1.8m (6ft) high, growing on dry, sun-baked hillsides. In gardens, therefore, it will benefit from a well-drained position in full sun. 'Hidcote' is a compact variety, suitable for growing in borders or as dwarf hedging and is one of the most popular lavenders with its dense silver-grey foliage, covered in fragrant, blue flower spikes in mid-summer. To encourage flowering and help retain its shape, remove dry flower stalks in late summer, then in early spring cut back shoots by 2.5cm (2in) or so, avoiding cutting into old wood. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Prunus cerasus
Prunus cerasus 'Morello'

A fantastic, dark red acid cherry that is ideal for cooking. Cherries grow into small or medium-sized trees although, if grafted on a semi-dwarfing rootstock such as 'Colt', they may be grown as fans on garden walls or as dwarf pyramids, both of which are easier to protect with fleece against frost, and later against birds. Varieties such as 'Morello' are self-fertile and may be grown on their own, producing heavy crops of large juicy fruits. Always prune between early spring and mid-autumn, when wounds heal quickly. Fruits are borne on young stems and pruning is quite different from sweet cherries. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Take a look at the winner of the BBC RHS People's Award 2007.

Design inspiration

Thomas Hoblyn"My inspiration was the Italian garden Villa Lante which I visited on my honeymoon and fell in love with. It is a beautiful garden and I was looking for an excuse to remodel it. The decadent garden was built for the extravagant Cardinal Gambara but my version is more environmentally-friendly with UK-sourced stone and rainwater used for irrigation. Rain is harvested off the roof, oxygenated as it runs down the fountain, filtered through a reed bed, then fed across a channel in the table where wine can be cooled.

"The Villa Lante has virtually no planting and a modernist feel despite its 16th century origins. My garden uses classic box and yew but I have married the concepts of this minimalist garden with a modern setting in a town garden in London so it also includes flowers, fruit and vegetables."

Designer, Thomas Hoblyn

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