LATE SUMMER COLOUR; Add late-flowering plants to stoke borders back to life and keep your summer garden going strong...
THE mainstay of summer and autumn borders, flowers have a dark raised velvety centre, with yellow, scarlet or crimson petals. They are good for injecting late colour into dreary planting schemes, but need fertile soil to perform well. And they also provide bumblebees with nectar.
Colourful combo: Works with Rudbeckia, Helianthus, Heliopsis, Solidago and goldenrod. Good for prairie-style plant schemes. pounds How much? Grow it from seed, pounds 1.99 (www.thompson-morgan.com, 0844 248 5383).
BLOOMS peak in September/ October and give butterflies a place to fuel up. Bees are drawn to them so combine with Michaelmas daisies in purple, pink and magenta for pulling power. Fleshy stems make elmas agenta ems make them perfect for dry soils.
Colourful combo: Flowers change from salmon pink to copper-red in autumn, and dried heads give structure and colour in winter. Combine with the chocolate leaves of Ajuga atropurpurea and Heuchera and purple blooms. pounds How much? pounds 4.95 (www.hairypotplants.co.uk, 01962 776910).
FOR a fab look limit flower and foliage colour pallet and aim for one third ev for one-third evergreen plants. Colourful combo: A successful partnership is Echinacea Robert Bloom and Sedum herbstfreude, previously known as autumn joy. Also performs well in big pots so make a running theme to link your patio and garden. pounds How much? From pounds 5 (www.knollgardens.co.uk, 01202 873931).
GREAT for filling gaps in borders, especially with larger plants. Look for white varieties to brighten dull areas. Honorine jobert is a choice variety with its white flowers, tinged with pink on the underside of the petals. Thrives in cool, moist soil in semi-shade.
Colourful combo: In shade, grow white varieties with ferns and evergreens. In sun, combine pink types with autumn bloomers such as Schizostylis, and Nerine or Aster with magenta-coloured flowers.
pounds How much? From pounds 6 (www.hardys-plants.co.uk, 01256 896533).
ASTER monch is the best blue Michaelmas daisy. It has long-lasting flowers with orange centres that appear when the days shorten. It's resilient and healthy if in a sunny spot with enriched soil. It gets covered in blooms, making it a magnet for insects and birds.
Colourful combo: It's a musthave candidate for a mixed or herbaceous border. Great with Crocosmia, Rudbeckia and Echinacea as well as goldenleaved ornamental grasses. pounds How much? Pay about pounds 7.99 at garden centres.
ORNAMENTAL grasses come into their own in autumn, bringing to your attention colour, texture and movement. Cover the ground with Stipa tenuissima, also known as Mexican feather grass, planting in bold drifts of three or more plants so the vaselike clumps of leaves look like a foamy sea. Colourful combo: Dark foliage and fluffy blooms resembling smoke gave rise to Cotinus coggygria's common name: purple smoke bush. It loses its leaves in winter but at this time of year makes a striking backdrop for late blooms and other grasses. pounds How much? From pounds 5.99 (www.crocus.co.uk, 0844 557 2233).
PRAIRIE planting remains very much in vogue after more than 20 years. This is because it is trouble free, as attractive as an English cottage border and fits into any garden landscape. Inspired by North American grasslands, the technique uses mass plantings of ornamental grasses with splashes or dots of vibrant herbaceous perennials that, once established, are left to their own devices.
Shown here: Tall perennials with blooms on spikes and spires work best in the prairie-style approach. Plant for interest the whole year round, but to peak at this particular time, choose red hot pokers, Aster, Verbena and Rudbeckia. pounds How much? Perennials from pounds 7.95 (www.primrose.co.uk, 0118 903 5210).
Helenium Anemones Sedum Stylish colour Aster Grasses