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Keep it brighter later; Tips for endless colour.

STRETCH out the season with some clever planting and bring colour, variety and texture straight into autumn.

Plug gaps in borders with coneflowers, daylilies, verbena, achilleas and Russian sage plus ornamental grasses.

To get maximum value from grasses, weave them into your flowerbeds. Plant alongside heleniums, sedums and asters for a gorgeous contrast between their spiky flowers and daisy blooms of late-flowering perennials.

A striking combo for late-summer colour is blood-red astrantia against a backdrop of pale yellow achillea Moonshine, interwoven with red-leaved sedum Ruby Glow. Use bronze-leaved grass-like sedge, Carex buchananii, which is brilliant for picking up the orange stems of Euphorbia griffithii.

Known as love grass, Eragrostis curvula Totnes Burgundy has beautiful mound-forming arching leaves that turn wine-red as they mature.

In late summer, they produce masses of grey, nodding flower spikes.

Musical Tall, willowy grasses such as Miscanthus sinensis create columns of fountain-like foliage that spurt 2.4m stems of silvery-purple feather flowers from mid-summer to early winter. They can be used to create screens to divide the garden into rooms.

The statuesque Calamagrostis acutiflora Karl Foerster, or feather reed grass, can also be used as a natural screens Spiky foliage adds movement and brings a delightful musical note to the garden when they rustle in the wind.

Miscanthus Kaskade is perfect for an exposed spot. It produces feathery rosy-pink blooms at this time of year and has arching leaves with white midribs that turn rich bronze in autumn. Plant in bold drifts studded with the wiry peep-through stems of Verbena bonariensis.

For a dramatic effect on a dry slope, consider using big clumps of feather reed grass to add height to a sea of ground-hugging Stipa tenuissima.

Together the foliage colours are more vibrant - especially in bright winter sun. They turn into dramatic iced sculptures when dusted with frost.

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 21, 2016
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