As befitting a grand finale, the colour dial turns full volume at summer’s end. Plant these time-honoured treasures to add to the richness of your late summer garden…
|Rudbeckias (aka coneflower) are favourite autumn flowers with their cheerful colour and dark centres. Varieties range from tall to short in many shades of yellow and bronze.
|Gaillardia ‘Fanfare’ delivers many months of colour. Cold hardy and suitable for all climates, it is undemanding if planted in a sunny spot with well drained soil.
|Achilleas unmistakeable flat flower heads are held on strong stems, each with a mass of tiny daisy flowers in shades of white, pink, salmon, red or yellow.
|Helianthus is the sunflower genus, which includes some stunning autumn flowering perennials including this one, Helianthus "Autumn Glory".
|Aster novi-belgii cultivars (Michaelmas Daisies), in shades of pink and blue, are free flowering perennials ideal for cool temperate gardens. Feed and water over spring and summer for an awesome late season display.
|Lobelia x gerardii 'Vedrariensis' is a tall robust perennial for full sun and moist well drained soil, similar to its close relative, red Lobelia cardinalis.
|Sedum spectabile is attractive spring through autumn. Its flat flower heads on stout fleshy stems with horizontal leaves make a fantastic accent against softer perennials and grasses. There are many varieties both tall and dwarf, to choose from.
|Anemone x hybrida, the Japanese anemone is a great groundcover for shade with soft grape-like foliage and romantic pink or white flowers on long stems. Spreads easily, so needs plenty of space!
|Heleniums can be relied upon for a bright a splash of colour when many other flowers are starting to fade. They’re particularly beautiful amongst grasses and drought tolerant once established.
|Salvia is the botanical name for hundreds of beautiful perennial sages. This vastly ranging plant group is a hallmark of the late summer and autumn garden. As well as the classic blues and purple flowered forms there are reds and pink forms too. Tall varieties like royal blue Salvia guaranitica are great at the back of a border. Dwarf varieties make colourful fillers or ground cover.
These perennials love the sun so choose a spot away from trees where they can enjoy as much light as possible. As they'll likely be in the garden for some years, prepare the soil well by digging in plenty of compost. A dressing of general garden fertiliser or blood and bone prior to planting will also encourage a healthy start.
After planting, water them in well, then keep a look out for weeds and remove them as they appear. Remove dead heads (spent flowers) regularly which will keep the garden looking tidy and will encourage more flowers to be produced over a longer period.
At the end of flowering, cut the plants back, either to ground level for hebaceous perennials (those whose growth dies down annually and regrows in Spring), or to a tidy compact shape for shrubby perennials.
Helianthus 'Autumn Glory'
Aster novi-belgii "Lady in Blue"
Sedum 'Desert Red'
Japanese anenome 'Wild Swan'
Helenium mixed with Achillea and grasses
Salvia 'Ember's Wish'