This is perhaps the most lovely of all the annuals, a real ballerina of a flower. The whitest of white petals – purity really does describe it perfectly – stretch with yearning up to the sun on wiry stems dancing above the featheriest of foliage. For all its delicacy, this is a tough plant that thrives on pretty much any soil: if you have poorer soil, the stems are shorter and it doesn’t need staking. This one is in my cutting garden, for these make the most spectacular and beautiful flowers for a vase and go with just about anything. It’s such a generous plant, too: the more you cut the flowers, the more the plant produces. I have Cosmos most of the year, as I sow in March for flowers in the usual month of June-July, and do a second sowing in July for flowers still going strong at this time of year. They don’t come more perfect than this.