In gardening, ‘late summer’ traditionally meant August. Nowadays, though, that could be anything up to early October, and there’s little doubt that we are experiencing a longer growing season. As Karen Hall said in her September talk, ‘it’s important that our gardens don’t run out of steam by July’.
She gave us some wonderful examples of plants which can really help.
(This is Rudbeckia Herbstone.) Rudbeckias and Heleniums are brilliant for this, and Rudbeckias in particular can continue to look good even after their petals have dropped. And both, like this yellow Helenium, are popular with wildlife…
Another favourite is Echinacea, and particularly the old species E. purpurea. They need good drainage, and don’t like being crowded by other plants.
This can be grown from seed; they’ll flower in their first year if sown early enough in the spring.
Karen’s special loves are the Salvias, and when you look at examples like this one,
which is Royal Bumble, it’s easy to understand why. Salvias can flower for months, and one of the secrets, Karen said, is not to cut the shrubby ones down in autumn. Wait until the spring, when they have started into growth, and cut them back to a low green shoot. This is at the top of Karen’s list:
It’s Salvia Hadspen. And as long as Salvias aren’t standing in wet soil over winter, they should cope (unless the winter is unusually cold, that is).
Ornamental grasses look wonderful with many of the late-season plants we were shown. But they also look pretty stunning by themselves:
Now we have no excuses!
Thank you, Karen, for your inspiring talk – and your even more inspiring images, showing us just what can be achieved!