dixter late summer plants

We’re heading relentlessly towards Autumn now and the first of the crunchy leaves of the huge London plane trees in my street have started to gently fall. Time for a cheering trip to the nursery or garden centre for hot (very) late summer colour.

This isn’t the time to agonise over matching pastel shades; throw everything at the late-summer border and enjoy the cacophony of clashes!

Here are my top 5 easy growers for a late season splurge:

  1. Japanese anenomes, (try Anemone x hybrida ‘September Charm’) are stately perennials with sweet blush white and pink flowers which wave delicately on tall wiry stems
  2. Michaelmas daisies, (a good one is Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’), provide a haze of mauve well into October
  3. Black-eyed susans, (Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii), brightens up cooler days with custard-yellow flowers that look like they were drawn by a talented 7-year old
  4. Hysopp (give Agastache ‘Blackadder’ a go), has an intense smoky violet colour and gives a useful upright form in the often-lax Autumn border
  5. Dahlias (Dahlia ‘Arabian Knight’ is beautifully intense) are no longer the preserve of your nanny’s back garden. They provide gloriously camp pom-poms of colour!

Team any or all of these with a waist-height fluffy grass such as purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Transparent’) which will quietly tie them together to make a loud but loveable family.

For inspiration, take a look at the late plantsman Christopher Lloyd’s plant picks for his hot garden at Great Dixter. Embrace strong Autumn colour and go out with a bang!