Achillea filipendulina

The herbaceous flowers of high summer are apt to be sturdy to the point of coarseness, as they have to be able to stand up to the sun – the gentle frailness of spring flowers is in the past. Achillea, or yarrow, is no exception, but it is a fine plant, nonetheless, with flat heads of tiny daisy flowers which stare boldly at the blue sky overhead. ‘Gold Plate’ is one of the taller varieties, with stalks 4 feet (1.2 m) high carrying very large, bright yellow flowers and, in my experience, needs no staking. The leaves are feathery and aromatic. ‘Gold Plate’ looks well in the company of the globe thistle, Echinops ritro, with steely blue globular flowers, as does the equally popular A. ‘Moonshine’, a shorter plant with lemon-yellow flowers and silvery leaves. (This variety flops a bit if not supported.) ‘Gold Plate’ should be planted in autumn in any well-drained soil in a sunny bed or border, in groups of three or five plants, 2 feet (60 cm) apart. It should be cut down in autumn and divided, if necessary, in spring. The flowers dry well for winter arrangements.

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