Summer may be drawing to a close but the garden still has plenty to offer. In fact many plants wait until the days shorten to show off their colourful best.
So if your garden looks like it has given up the ghost, add some of these late bloomers to liven it up again.
They flower around the end of September – the late, late show and come in all shades of lavender blue, purple and pink. Often recommended varieties include King George, Silver Spray and Nanus. They prefer full to partial sun and the soil should be moist, well-drained and average to humus-rich. Their main drawback is their susceptibility to powdery mildew.
The most commonly available are Autumn Joy and Brilliant. Stardust is a white-flowered variety, while Jose Aubergine, Purple Emperor and Blue Pearl all have double leaves.
Other recommended sedums include Matrona, Frosty Morn and Black Jack.
Sedums are easy plants to maintain and given a sunny well-drained spot will provide years of pleasure.
The delicate white or pink flowers belie the fact that they are invasive and hard to control.
Anemone Honorine Jobert is a good white, Whirlwind is a semi-double white while Pamina and Queen Charlotte are dark and light pink respectively. Hadspen Abundance grows to a metre with vivid pink single flowers. Shorter varieties include Pink Pocahontas, Cinderella and Wild Swan, which has a blue streak to the back of white petals.
When buying, go for well-grown, larger specimens and plant them in rich friable soil in semi-shade.
There’s a dahlia for everyone. In common they are frost tender and usually need lifted when the leaves die down. Single flowered varieties include Happy. Pink Jupiter is a giant whilst the dwarf Dreamy Fantasy is more subtle.
Although dahlias will grow well in any soil, they thrive best in rich soil with good drainage.
Best suited to the garden border are the perennial sunflowers such as Helianthus Lemon Queen and Helianthus Salicifolia. The latter can grow to two metres. On the opposite end of the scale is Table Mountain, a dwarf that only grows to 40cm. Tall or small they are bound to bring a bit of sunshine to the autumn garden. Helianthus are easily grown in average, moist, well-drained soils in full sun.
Other plants to consider include Crocosmia, Actea, Salvias, Rudbeckias, Acanthus, Echinacea, Agapanthus, Penstemons and Alstroemerias.