Meet the stars of late sum­mer

Keep borders brim­ming with tex­ture, shape and colour as the sea­son slows. Val Bourne shares her ad­vice on plan­ning ahead

Garden Answers (UK) - - Contents -

Septem­ber is many a gar­dener’s favourite month be­cause it has a jewel-box qual­ity all of its own. The evenly bal­anced days and nights seem to cast a magic spell and heavy dews re­fresh and re­vive, giv­ing gar­dens a sec­ond lease of life. As wa­ter­ing be­gins to wane, there’s more time to en­joy warm af­ter­noons, with a cou­ple of months of colour still to come be­fore the cold weather fi­nally in­ter­venes. You’ll get misty morn­ings and mel­low af­ter­noons and, as the days shorten, the light takes on a crys­tal-clear clar­ity. Even pale colours, like that of laven­der aster ‘Lit­tle Car­low’, shine out in Septem­ber light. These changes in day length prompt south­ern-hemi­sphere plants to per­form bet­ter than ever, be­cause these pig­ment-packed lovelies are used to longer nights. South Amer­i­can fire­crack­ers, such as dahlias, salvias, cos­mos, fuch­sias, ver­be­nas and pen­ste­mons, are all at their best now and will per­form un­til the frosts ar­rive. They’re of­ten the last flow­ers stand­ing on a Novem­ber day. Woody-stemmed North Amer­i­can prairie peren­ni­als be­gin to shine now too. Asters, rud­beck­ias, eu­pa­to­rium, he­lianthus and sol­idago all be­long to the in­sect-friendly daisy fam­ily and are main­stays of the au­tumn bor­der.

❤ At their peak in Septem­ber, dahlias keep per­form­ing un­til the first frosts ar­rive

Septem­ber is rud­beck­ias’ month to shine

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