Plants are in bloom earlier this year due to the dry weather which brings on flowering before the “normal” season.
Colour this autumn comes from Rudbekia fulgida Goldsturm, a jolly yellow daisy like flower with a black centre which flowers for weeks if kept watered. They do best in a heavier soil that retains moisture and need to be split and replanted every few years to maintain their flowering. Another flowering perennial that is doing really well this year is the Penstemons. These produce foxglove shaped flowers for a long period from summer to autumn, especially if you dead head them. They have bright green leaves and the flowers come in red, white, all shades of pink and mauve/blue. This year they have performed well in the heat when other plants have wilted. The smaller leaved variety Garnet with dark red flowers is very good for hot weather.
If you are looking for colour from shrubs, then the Hydrangeas of all varieties are performing well if kept watered! They like a damper soil but if the leaves wilt, throw a couple of buckets of water on the roots and they should perk up. Although I love the Lacecap varieties, the mophead types are giving bold colour this year as you can see from the photo. Another late flowering shrub is Abelia Grandiflora. This needs a bit of shelter so a windswept site is not ideal. It has small neat glossy green foliage and in autumn has masses of small white scented flowers. Can get to 2m tall if left unpruned but cut it back after flowering or in spring and it will form a neat shrub about 1m tall.
Work to do in the garden. Let your pumpkins and squashes harden off in the sun before bringing them in to a cool garage to store. Protect your brassicas with robust netting to avoid pigeons eating them over winter. If the soil is damp enough, perennials can be dug up and split and replanted. Crocosmias need this as after time they become congested and cease to flower well. Replant a few in soil enriched with well rotted manure for a good show next year.
If you would like to visit gardens look out for gardens open under the National Gardens Scheme where all proceeds go to charities including Marie Cure Cancer Care and Macmillan Cancer Support. Mount Pleasant Gardens, Kelsall open on 1st and 2nd September, has 10 acres of gardens to discover including a sculpture trail.