While many summer flowers are now fading, Hannah Stephenson looks at the bright lights of late summer which will make your borders sizzle.
My delphiniums and lupins are long gone, my roses are fading and the giant-flowered hybrid clematis are past their best, but my perennial borders remain a riot of colour thanks to a few, well-chosen gems.
Late summer can be a time when colour is at its hottest, when blazing crocosmia, burnt orange helenium, bright yellow rudbeckias, acid green euphorbias and an array of other plants come into their own.
Exotic orange ginger lilies (Hedychium), which release a great scent, clash with vibrant red Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ or its relative D. ‘Tally Ho’, with its hot, deep orange flowers.
If you prefer pastel shades, plant sun-loving cone flowers (Echinacea) in shades of pink and white for a cooler, more subtle scene.
The daisy-like flowers and height (they can grow to 150cm (5ft) tall) mean they work well towards the back of the border, attracting bees and butterflies and adding impact alongside globe thistle (Echinops) and monarda.
Some varieties have rich colours that can be combined with fuchsias, or blue salvias.
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