A group of bright pink Cosmos flowers

Cosmos adds to a sunny garden in surprising ways

The first time I saw cosmos in a blindingly sunny garden, orderliness was not the word that came to mind. No, barely contained chaos was more like it. The impenetrable thatch of tall stems thrust up cartoon-like flowers, in brilliant shades of pink, nodding in every direction. But the story goes that Spanish priests loved the…

Smoketree 1

Cotinus coggyria: Smoking in the garden

Slow growing. Too big for a shrub and too small for a tree. Straggly. Did I say really slow growing? Smoketrees can get a lot of heat from picky gardeners. But when the setting sun lights up their panicles in a shimmering nimbus how can you think otherwise than your garden is all the more miraculous…