Adding Late Summer Colour to your Garden

A selection of plants to add some often much needed late summer colour to your garden.

As summer turns to autumn some gardens begin to look tired. Flowers begin to fade as the days begin to shorten and borders look like they are in real need of a 'pick-me-up'.

There are however certain plants that are at their prime at this time of year. The following is a collection of suitable plants in this group to add late summer colour to a garden. As with any collection of plants, they all have different requirement, but there should be at least two or three in the list to suit any garden.

As you work your way through the plants you will notice that bright, vibrant colours dominate. I prefer such colours at this time of year; they remind me of the sometimes hot, mid-summer days that we get in the UK. Many of the plants have more than one quality, some being attractive to bees and butterflies, others have long lasting flowers that can be cut and put in a vase in the house:

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Heavenly Blue'

A small shrub that has intense dark blue flowers in August and September. It is drought tolerant and the flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies.

Chrysanthemum 'Bullfinch'

Ideal for a sunny site in well drained soil this hardy Chrysanthemum flowers for a long period from July to October. The red flowers have a yellow centre and are ideal for cutting.

Echinacea 'Tomato Soup'

As the name suggests, this coneflower has bright tomato red flowers from June to September. With regular dead-heading, it will produce flowers well into autumn. The flowers are also very good for cutting and are attractive to bees and butterflies.

Anemone x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert'

This Japanese anemone has perfectly pure white flowers and is ideal for a partially shaded site. Once established, Japanese anemones are tough as old boots, clumps can become invasive but can be split up after flowering and planted elsewhere around the garden or given to friends. The flowering period is long from August to October.

Helenium 'Waldtraut'

Flowering in August and September, this upright perennial has flame coloured bronze-orange flowers. Excellent for producing cut flowers that are also attractive to bees and butterflies.

Hibiscus syriacus 'Oiseau Bleu'

An excellent hardy late flowering shrub with exotic looking flowers.  The large bright blue flowers have a red centre and are produced from August to October. The species is native to Syria so the most flowers are produced on a sunny site in moist but well-drained soil.

Lobelia cardinalis 'Queen Victoria'

Really bright red flowers complement dark purple foliage. Growing up to 1 metre tall, it flowers in full sun or partial shade from August to October.

Penstemon 'Hidcote Pink'

Just one of the many Penstemon cultivars, 'Hidcote Pink' is a favourite of mine. The pink flowers are striped with white and are produced until the first frosts if dead-headed regularly.

Phlox paniculata 'Tenor'

Most Phlox will flower in full sun or partial shade although the amount of available light does affect the number of flowers produced. 'Tenor' flowers from July to October, the flowers are bright pink and strongly scented. They are also attractive to bees and butterflies.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii

This Black-eyed Susan has bright yellow flowers from August to October. The flowers have a prominent black-brown centre.

Tricyrtis formosana 'Dark Beauty'

I find the exotic flowers of the toad lily fascinating. Tricyrtis thrive in a shady site with moist, leafy soil. The flowers are purple spotted and produced in August and September. Ideal for a woodland garden.

Aster sedifolius 'Nanus'

This short michalmas daisy is ideal for the front of a sunny border. Lots of lilac-blue flowers that have yellow centres are produced in September and October. The flowers are also attractive to butterflies.


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