The perennial lobelias have a reputation for being weedy plants that keel over with the first chill of winter. Not this one.  I find that it is a strong grower, vigorous and hardy. It needs to be kept dry in the winter, so on clay soils dig lots of grit into the area before you plant.

The magenta-purple flowers are about 1m tall and start to appear in late July. Strong colours like this are not for the faint-hearted and can be difficult to place. Mine are growing amongst the bright foliage of Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Avalanche’, which makes the flowers seem even brighter.  I’ve seen it looking good with pink cleomes and with a purple-leaved Physocarpus.

This cultivar originally appeared in the gardens of Hadspen House and was named by the gardener Sandra Pope for the writer and designer Tania Compton.