Fashionably late

Mixed late summer border - including Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'star of the east' - montbretias, sedum - © Rachael Warne/GAP Photos

Mixed late summer border – including Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘star of the east’ – montbretias, sedum – © Rachael Warne/GAP Photos

There are plenty of annuals, biennials and perennials that provide late summer colour. Sedums, rudbeckias, dahlias, tithonia, ricinus, cannas, crocosmias and asters are just a few of our favourites. So, rather than position them hither and thither around the garden for a dribble of this and a splash of that, why not mass them into one spectacular last-minute show? Designing a late summer border means you can guarantee a crescendo of colours before frosts put paid to vivid tones. Who can resist a ‘hot’ border of golden rudbeckias, orange heleniums and scarlet dahlias? Throw in some deep purple amaranthus, a backdrop of paddle-like canna, musa or ensete leaves and a pollarded paulownia for good measure and your tropical-like collection of lush, sumptuous foliage and sizzling blooms is complete. Add a few accent plants, like hot pink cleomes, cactus dahlias, dioramas and cosmos and you’ve got clashing Christopher Lloyd-style colours to be proud of. Of course, if you don’t have the luxury of space to create a devoted border, there are a few tricks we have up our sleeves. Early summer perennials like aquilegias and Oriental poppies can, once faded, be cut back to ground level. Sink pots of late season plants into their place and you’ll extend your season without harming the plants beneath. Maximum interest for just a little effort.