Working outdoors every day, as I do, I am well aware of changes in the seasons, and dare I say it, I think autumn is not too far away. Whether it's in the lower angle of the sun giving a softer, gentler light, or the melancholy song of the robin, I'm not sure but it's definitely coming!
Having said all of that, there's no need to despair and give up gardening for the year! I still have customers, old and new, who round the corner into the nursery and say, "wow!"
Our sales beds are currently bursting with late summer/autumn colour right now, and it's a great time to come and extend the season in your own garden, by getting something that's already in flower.
Echinacea have been going for some time but they are such good value and will flower on and on if deadheaded. Combine them with tall grasses, which are also at their best, and you can create your own mini prairie. Add in a rudbeckia or two and maybe Coreopsis and you have also created an insect's paradise. With beds in mind, another really good plant at the moment is Veronicastrum; they grow to approximately 1.4m and have spires of tiny individual flowers, making tall candles, embroidered with insects. People seem to particularly like the white version, 'Album' which can act like a cooling note in a hot colour scheme.
The Kniphofias, or 'Red Hot Pokers', are also looking particularly fine; from the shorter, finer 'Lemon Popsicle' to the taller and fiery 'Echo Rojo'. They really seem to glow with an internal flame, seem almost luminous and against a bronze grass, have to be seen to be believed. As a contrast, among a blue metallic grass, like Panicum 'Prairie Sky', Kniphofia 'Creamsicle' (which is apricot orange), is just amazing.
For those of you that visit and complain that there's no colour in your garden and that the year is nearly over, I recommend just looking around you; there's colour absolutely everywhere!
Alyson Woods, Nursery Manager