As summer turns into autumn, colour from flowers can continue well into September. Shrubs in flower include Fuschias, that are such good value with a long flowering period. Fuschia magellanica is one of the hardiest types with pink or white flowers. They will grow in sun or slight shade and provide an arching shrub about 1m in diameter. Abelia Grandiflora is an underrated shrub with lots of small white flowers with a lovely scent. It will grow on any soils except light sandy soils. Trim in early spring. More scent is provided by Clerodendrum bungei a tall suckering shrub with large head of highly scented pink flowers. Pop it in at the back of a border and watch it come up around other shrubs. Hibiscus syriacus is a late flowering shrub, also known as the Tree Hollyhock. They will grow to up to 2.5m and have large pink, white or rich blue flowers in early autumn. They take time to settle in and grow but are spectacular in September, covered in large flowers.
There are many perennials that provide lots of autumn colour. The colours in autumn tend to be shades of rich pink and lilac. Asters are good partners for Sedums and bees love them both. Asters can be small such as Aster Jenny. This lovely little perennial grows to about 30cm tall and flowers for a long period. Then you can have taller Aster x frikartii which will grow to about 60cm. Pair them with Sedum spectabile Brilliant or September Glow which grow to 50cm and form large plants. Very easy to split in spring. Another good autumn flowering plant for late summer are the Penstemons. The easiest and hardiest Penstemon is Garnet with 3cm rich deep pink trumpet flowers. However larger flowered varieties are available in white, red, mauve and rich plum.
Start planting Daffodils, Crocuses and other early spring flowering bulbs in September. Tulips need to wait until October or November. Start dividing perennials in autumn. Keep on picking runner beans and wait patiently for tomatoes to ripen. I have had courgette plants continuing to fruit well into October although the courgettes do get smaller and smaller!
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 at Kelsall are open on 7th and 8th September with a Sculpture Trail and Sculpture Exhibition featuring British artists set in and the gardens. There are 10 acres of gardens with trees shrubs, perennials and grasses. Wander the maze of paths leading to themed island borders, ponds, tropical plants, a stumpery and wildflower meadow.