Autumn is in the air. We definitely can feel temperatures going down and the sun hiding a little more every day. There are still some bright days ahead of us though, so let’s enjoy the end of the summer, the last barbecues and garden parties before the children go back to school and we all get back to our hectic lives.
Let’s make the most of the last few weeks in the garden with some of the best late season flowering plants so we can say goodbye to the summer and welcome the autumn in style!
Back Season Flowering Shrubs
Evergreen or not, shrubs, like trees, are the cornerstones of your garden. This is the reason why, you should start your design with these and build up your plant collection around it.
You could start with the potentilla and the fuchsia. These all-time favourites will lose their leaves for the winter but they boast of a long flowering season from summer well into autumn. They are also fairly low maintenance therefore perfect choices for the beginner.
Fuchsias . Photo © Windyridge Garden Centre
Note, however, that not all varieties of fuchsias are completely hardy. Typically, the varieties with larger flowers are tender and best grown as annuals.
Other evergreen options include Hebes and Abelias. Their foliage can be as striking as their flowers! They remain rather small at around 50cm high (some hebes can grow quite tall if left unchecked) and are perfect for the front of the border and pots. But if you need height, the Perovskia (Russian sage) might be a better choice towards the back of the border where it can display its blue flower spikes. It benefits from a hard pruning every spring.
Hebe. Photo © Windyridge Garden Centre
All of these present the advantage of being particularly attractive to pollinators (it is always a plus!) and they grow best in full to partial shade. (Fuchsias can tolerate a bit more shade than the others).
Late summer climbers
If you need to dress your wall with some cheerful flowers, then you might try the ever popular Clematis. There is great number of varieties available, some flowering as early as late winter. But for the late summer ones, you might be tempted by the rich velvety colours of the ‘Julia Correvon’, ‘Ernest Markham’ or ‘Rouge Cardinal’ for their dark red/burgundy flowers, unless you prefer the deep purple of the ‘Star of India’. Make sure that they are planted in a deep and fertile soil with smaller plants protecting the base.
Would like some scent with it? Then the Jasminum Polyanthum will make a fantastic addition. This free-flowering variety may not be as hardy as the Jasminum officinale but it will reward you with its fragrant white flowers opening from pink buds in a sheltered area.
A Carousel of Colourful Perennials
When it comes to the best range of colour available in late summer, the herbaceous perennials are the true winners.
From the big blooms of the Rudbeckias, Echinaceas and Leucanthemums, for the fans of daisies, to the tall little pompoms of the Verbena, let’s be spoiled for choice!
(Bottom to top) Rudbeckias, Leucanthemums and Echinaceas. Photo © Windyridge Garden Centre.
Rubeckia ‘Sunbeckia’. Photo © Windyridge Garden Centre
Verbena Rigida. Photo © Windyridge Garden Centre
The purple and blue lovers might be tempted by the Nepeta (catmint) which flowers throughout the summer into early autumn or the Aster, THE late flowering daisy if there was to be only one. These produce masses of star-shaped flowers in late summer and autumn. You can combine it with the fiery Lobelia for a strong but attractive combination.
Lobelia Starship ‘Scarlet’ with Nepeta ‘Walker’s low’. Photo © Windyridge Garden Centre.
The shady corner won’t be forgotten. The Eupatorium and the Japanese anemone will ornate the back of the border with their blooms standing tall. The Sedums (Stonecrop) will be ideal in the middle and they are just so easy to grow, they basically, almost, take care of themselves!
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’. Photo © Windyridge Garden Centre.
Finally, at the front, the grass-like Liriope will add interest with its purple spikes of little berries.
Liriope Muscari. Photo © Windyridge Garden Centre.
There are, of course, many other options such as the Alstroemeria (we are particularly in love with the ‘Indian Summer’ and ‘Summer Breeze’ varieties, with warm orange flowers contrasting with the dark foliage).
Alstroemeria ‘Summer Breeze’. Photo © Windyridge Garden Centre.
Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’. Photo © Windyridge Garden Centre.
You could combine those with Ornamental grasses and the unrivalled Hydrangeas for their big flowerheads.
Last but not least, the chrysanthemum (Garden Mum) along with Heathers will be your long lasting options getting into the cold weather. Ideal for pots, they will last well after All Saints!
Chrysanthemum. Photo © Windyridge Garden Centre.