When it comes to choosing flowers for adding summer color and scent to our outdoor spaces, many of us play it safe and opt for traditional favorites such as roses, foxgloves, marigolds and pansies.
While there's certainly nothing wrong with that (after all, who doesn't love a beautiful rose in their garden), there are more varieties on offer if you want to try something new for your flowerbed ideas this summer.
To get you inspired to step outside of your comfort zone, we've chosen five unusual and often overlooked blooms that are guaranteed to give your garden a talking point this summer. Which ones will you add to your planting list...
1. Lord Bute
Most commonly known as geranium, the pelargonium is a much loved variety. Lord Bute, however, is one you may not have come across that often. Deep crimson in color with a bright pink edging, this is a striking flower and the velvet leaves are sumptuous.
You can buy them as plants that will come ready for potting on and planting out as soon as the frosts are over. They are ideal for garden borders and windowsills.
2. Himalayan poppy
Hands up if you’ve seen a blue poppy before? If not, we think you'll love this beautiful variety just as much as we do. They’re a hardy perennial that will literally light up your garden year after year.
Dramatic and striking, you could combine them with other blue flowers for an unusual display or team them with pastel shades of pink and lilac. They will flower from May to June.
Head over to our garden color schemes for more interesting ways to add unusual shades to your plot.
3. Granny's bonnet
This pretty flower is part of the buttercup family. It's ideal for cottage gardens and wildlife garden ideas and features pale green leaves with nodding heads.
Free flowering the seed mix gives you a wide range of vibrant colored blooms on strong stems that make them ideal for cutting. You can sow them until June and they will flower from May to July.
4. Red hot poker
Uber striking, this red hot poker or torch lily (it has many names) has unusual pendulous tuber flowers that are coral red in bud and open to zingy lime green.
As they are tall, you can use them to create height in your borders. You can start them off as seeds or buy as seedlings. They love full sun and will flower from July to October.
5. Butterfly flower
This unusual perennial has nectar rich flowers that butterflies love – hence its name. Golden-orange in color, they are a great choice for sunny borders and are showy in style. They will flower from July to September so they’re a good option for late color.
Ideal for wildlife gardens, when autumn approaches the flowers turn into long seed heads that split open to reveal seeds adorned with strands of silken white hairs.
There's more tips on how to grow a butterfly garden in our guide.
Take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch 2023 to save our feathered friends
Gardens Watching garden visitors for just one hour in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2023 could help provide vital data to protect birds from the effects of climate change
By Jayne Dowle Published
Do you need to chit potatoes? Find out what the experts say
Grow Your Own Learn how to chit potatoes before planting them in the ground and you’ll be on your way to getting an earlier and bigger harvest
By Drew Swainston Published