Savour the fading beauties
The last flowers standing are often Gaura lindheimeri, with their willowy stems of white, butterflyshaped flowers softened by rhubarb-pink stamens and pink buds. This North American plant is an evening primrose relative that tends to be a short-lived perennial. However, it’s easily raised from seeds sown in March and will flower in its first year. There are pink forms including ‘Freefolk Rosy’ and ‘Rosyjane’, but it’s the ephemeral quality of the soft-white version that shines best as winter approaches. Use gaura in a sheltered sunny position close to hardy salvias, such as bright-pink S. microphylla ‘Wild Watermelon’. Or try a hardy valerian from Morocco, Centranthus lecoqii with lavender heads of butterflyand moth-pleasing flowers. They’ll all go on late until winter intervenes. Certain repeat-flowering roses linger on too. One of the best is short, pink ‘Bonica’, bearing clusters of semi-double flowers from early July onwards. White roses often have a flourish now and noisette climber, ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’, will still put out its soft-white flowers tinted with appleblossom pink. The foliage is healthy, the stems are thornless, so it’s easy to train and bend, and it will tolerate a north wall. Stiff silhouettes from taller lateflowering monarda, asters and phlomis stand up well over winter and favourites include monarda ‘Gardenview Scarlet’, aster ‘Little Carlow’ and shapely Phlomis tuberosa ‘Amazone’.
GO WITH THE PHLO Vibrant orange Rhus typhina ‘Dissecta’ helps seedheads of phlomis to stand out
ASTER ‘LITTLE CARLOW’ Masses of flowers August to the frosts. Full sun or part shade. H90cm (3ft) S45cm (18in) Bears clusters of fragrant mauve flowers from early summer. Loved by bees. H60cm (2ft) S45cm (18in) Yellow flowers May-Sept with unusual seedheads. H90cm (3ft) S75cm (30in) PHLOMIS RUSSELIANA CENTRANTHUS LECOQII
GAURA ‘ROSYJANE’ White flowers with a pink picotee edge. Flowers May to the frosts. Likes sun. H75cm (30in) S60cm (2ft) MONARDA ‘GARDEN VIEW SCARLET’ Bright red tufted flowers July to frosts. Sun or part shade. H90cm (3ft) S45cm (18in) Single pink flowers offset by gunmetalgrey foliage. Dark red hips. H1.8m (6ft) S1.5m (5ft) ROSA GLAUCA