As the days get shorter there‘s still time to enjoy these late-flowering blooms and their perfect pairings
Late-flowering lovelies and friends
Nerine bowdenii and Nerine bowdenii ‘Pink Surprise’
Nerines are always a lovely surprise and as subtle as a flock of parrots on a hen night. You think you are snuggling down for winter when, bang!, there’s an eruption of screaming pink to dazzle autumn. Nerine care Hardy down to -10°C (protect with fleece or bring pots into a frost-free greenhouse if lower temperaures are forecast). Good at the base of a hot wall. Sow seed when ripe or divide after flowering. Plant bulbs in early spring, but they might not flower in the first year. Needs full sun to thrive, and watch out for slugs. HxS 50cm x 10cm ( Nerine bowdenii) HxS 70cm x 10cm ( Nerine bowdenii ‘Pink Surprise’)
Viburnum plicatatum tomentosum ‘Mariesii’ and Phormium tenax
This viburnum is well known for its clear white flowers and the way that it grows in tiers as elegantly layered as a society wedding cake. Less well known is its amazing autumn colour – look at that red! My interesting phormium fact is that the Maoris used the leaves to create armour.
Viburnum plicatatum tomentosum ‘Mariesii’
Care Full sun and free-draining soil. Propagate from softwood cuttings in summer. Prune carefully to preserve its elegant structure.
HxS 3m x 4m
Care Good in a large pot and hardy down to -10°C. Sow seed or divide in spring.
HxS 3m x 2m
Salvia elegans and Restio tetraphyllus
Salvias are another plant that flower right up until the first frost – very impressive, especially as the performance started in about May. Here they are teamed with the dense, evergreen Australian tassel cord rush, which gives a good backdrop against which the salvias can happily cavort.
Care Can survive winter in warmer areas but best to take cuttings just in case – they are easy to strike. Protect from waterlogging and mulch in spring.
HxS 70cm x 40cm
Care Brownish flowers in spring. Good in containers. Divide in spring. Hardy down to -10°C.
HxS 1.5m x 60cm
Viburnum and phormium Salvia and October restio 2017 gardenersworld.com