Keep your garden looking colourful

Hydrangeas in bloom
Hydrangeas in bloom

The end of summer can mark the start of wilted annuals and faded perennials, but if you add some beautiful, bold late-flowering additions, you can make your garden a riot of colour until autumn.

It’s easy to prolong the season with dahlias, heleniums, rudbeckias and a host of other bright blooms which will fit into many planting schemes and situations.

1) Hydrangea

Flaunting an old-fashioned charm in a variety of colours - blues, vibrant pinks and frosty whites - Hydrangeas grow up to six feet high and wide, so they’re great for creating a ‘sea of flowers’ effect. You can get different varieties, including lacecap, mophead or oakleaf hydrangeas. Consider placing in front of taller plants like small or medium-size trees that could offer the shade the shrubs prefer. But beware, too much shade can reduce their flowering.

2) Dahlia

Flowering from mid-summer until the first frosts (which can be around mid-October, depending where you live), these popular blooms come in bronze, dark red, lavender, orange and pink, and are all different shapes and sizes. They make great standalones in their own beds or paired with grasses and verbena plants. They need a well-worked soil with good drainage and, once they’re established, be sure to water them three or four times a week.

3) Crocosmia

These bright flowers are maintenance-free and easy to grow, so they’ll add an easy shot of colour to your garden. Their bold, sword-like flowers mainly come in reds, oranges and yellows. Depending on the variety, crocosmia can grow up to a metre tall, and they don’t need pruning, just remove the dead leaves and flower stems before spring, when new growth starts.

4) Sedum Spectabile

These pink late-summer flowers will save your garden from getting the blues well into autumn. Plant in a sunny position in your garden and pair with Japanese anemones, phlox or penstemons. These require little care, just check your plants regularly to make sure they’re not too dry.

5) Rudbeckias

These are bushy plants that create masses of bold, zingy yellow flowers. Also known as black-eyed Susans because of their distinctive big black cone in the centre, they have a long flowering period between July to October. They are drought-resistant, not too fussy about soil type, and can grow over three feet tall, with a flower diameter of 2-3 inches.

6) Helenium

These vibrant, daisy-shaped orange flowers bloom in late summer and autumn. Brilliant on their own or pair with tall, purple salvias, for a nice contrast. Grow in fertile, moist, but well-drained soil and deadhead regularly to ensure they flower for lonwger.

7) Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’

For a splash of purple, then try Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’, a purple, daisy-like flower with a yellow centre. These bushy herbaceous perennials can grow up to 90cm and like an open, sunny position. Cut back in late autumn and pair with a tall, pink penstemon.