I have been enjoying these lovely sunny September days. Somehow it reminds me of my childhood – that happy, safe, uncomplicated time. School would go back and the weather would be glorious. It always seemed a shame to be wearing the new winter school uniform rather than the summer dress worn in June and July. You would end up rolling up your shirt sleeves and discarding the jumper, much like my son these last few weeks.
It also reminds me of how much joy the garden can still give at this time of year. It is tempting to think that the garden is over once August and high summer has come and gone but there are so many lovely plants that come into their own in September and beyond.
In my garden Geranium ‘Orion’ is still going like the clappers. It is a wonderful bluey/purple geranium flowering constantly from May til November. The bees love it and it gets better and better each year. Orion scrambles through other plants and doesn’t complain if you give it a bit of a short back and sides. I have specified this in a number of gardens and it is a total winner every time.
I was never an Aster fan, they reminded me of petrol station forecourt bunches of flowers, but I have fallen in love with Aster novea-belgii ‘Marie Ballard’. Another stunner. She goes rather well with Geranium ‘Orion’. They have a similar hue which is almost impossible to catch in a photo or describe. The thing with Asters, now called rather clumsily Symphyotrichum, is they come into their own when a lot of other things in the garden are going over. I can’t say I much like the ubiquitous ‘Little Carlow’. It seems rather anaemic to me but there are a number of really gorgeous coloured Asters that will see you through to the end of October. Check out Aster novea-belgii ‘Blue Gown’ or how about Aster amellus ‘Veilchenkonigin’. The other wonderful thing about Asters is they are beloved of bees. When your lavender starts to go over an Aster or two will delight the local bee population for a few more months.
I have Persicaria amplexicaulis flowering again. The very hot, dry weather in July rather did for it so I ruthlessly cut it back and with the rain we did get and a bit from the water butt they are having a second go. Persicaria bistorta, a lower more ground hugging variety did rather better and is covered in little candle flowers ranging from pale pink, through dark pink to russet. It can be a bit thuggish but it is great ground cover and easily pulled out where you don’t want it encroaching.
Verbena bonariensis and Crocosmia ‘Emily MacKenzie’ are at the polar opposites of the so-called colour wheel and clash in a wonderful way that only flowers can. The Verbena self seeds itself merrily but it is easy to pull out the seedlings in early summer where you don’t want them. And of course the stalwart of the Autumn garden are Sedums. I have a bog standard one which starts out a lovely pale green and then turns pink in September. You can get them in all shades of pink and if dark leaves are your thing then what about Sedum ‘Red Cauli’. I think I might have to add a few more, squeezed in somewhere where the bees can land on there flat flower heads like a helicopter landing pad.
Enjoy your growing space, whether its a pot on a balcony or a garden (all these plants could be grown in a pot) and lets enjoy this beautiful weather with gorgeous blue skies for a bit longer.