Plantswoman FIONA EDMOND, who owns the award-winning Green Island Gardens in Ardleigh, shares her gardening tips. Today the topic is scented summer colour of Agastaches

Last summer I planted a collection of Agastache in the same manner as you would half hardy Salvias.

Although they said ‘hardy’ on the labels I was sceptical, having tried ad failed several times before.

Despite the cold winter and snow and then one of the wettest springs on record I was delighted to see them all emerge with renewed vigour this year in the late spring, and now, during one of the worst droughts I can remember they are providing weeks of colour and delicious scents.

Brentwood Live: A.Ambrosia

Agastache come in different sizes, colours and varieties. Some will tolerate more moisture than others, but all have leaves and stems that give off a fantastic aroma reminiscent of mint with hints of licorice and citrus; some describe it as root beer and all are attractive to butterflies, bees and other insects.

Agastache rugosa otherwise known as Korean mint leaves have been used for centuries in Chinese herbal medicine, anise tea and in cooking.

This variety is easily grown and will seed itself so despite being short lived I am never totally without it.

The blue flowers last from June through to autumn, and mid green leaves suit virtually any planting scheme.

Brentwood Live: A. ‘licorice Blue”

Some of the varieties I have found to be less hardy are the smaller grey blue leaved shrubby types with masses of bright orange, coral and pink tubular flowers.

However last year I planted them in some of my driest areas, with poor soils.

This year they have put on a fantastic display through the drought despite not being watered.

I always leave the top growth on the plants for protection through the winter and cut it off in late March.

These ones are ideally suited to silver leaved planting schemes and combine well with artemisias, stachys, perovskia, eryngium, Parahebe perfoliata and grasses such as festuca,and Stipa gigantea. My favourite varieties are A. ‘Kudos Coral’, and A. Ambrosia.

So if after this summers drought you are thinking about replanting part of your garden to be more tolerant of the dry conditions do include some of these lovely delicious smelling plants all of which can be seen growing at Green Island Gardens. For more information visit