Perennials are a great way to get late summer colour. Creating a garden full of colour during the summer months is easy but as we head towards August and September a lot of our plants start to look tired and past their best.
Summer bedding plants are popular with many people because they provide an instant display. Bedding plants are short lived and require a lot of watering. Living as I do between Hitchin and Letchworth in the East of England which is the dry side of the country means the watering would almost be a full time job.
An excellent alternative to bedding plants is to use perennials for late summer colour. There are many to choose from that flower late in the season often with much stronger and hotter colours than their early flowering counterparts. As perennials grow back every year increasing in size you can quite quickly add extra splashes of colour into your garden
A favourite perennial of mine that has hot sultry orange flowers is Crocosmia ‘Emily McKenzie’. It has arching spikes of large lily shaped flowers and sword like leaves. If you like daisy type flowers as I do then Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ is a must. It has orangey-toffee flowers that attract bees and butterflies and makes a good cut flower as well.
If you prefer cooler colours such as mauves and purples then I’d recommend planting Verbena bonariensis. This is a stylish perennial with an open structure that works well planted in groups. It is tall, growing to about 1.5 metres but is totally self supporting and will flower from June to September. For something similar but slightly smaller try Verbena hastata which is also available in blue and pink.
A perennial that gives real value for money in the garden is Salvia pratensis ‘Indigo’. As the name suggests it produces a mass of upright flower spikes that are a fantastic rich blue in colour. The first flowers appear in May but if you cut out the spent flower spikes as soon as they start to fade, you will enjoy flowers right through to August!
I love perennials and hope that just the few I’ve mentioned might be enough to whet your appetite or make you re-think a bit about what you put in your garden. They are all reliable varieties that require low maintenance and will flourish with minimum attention.