Late summer colour

By adding some very special late summer blooming perennials, you can make an enormous difference to the whole look and feel of your garden.

Rudbeckia Goldsturm

By adding some very special late summer blooming perennials, you can make an enormous difference to the whole look and feel of your garden.  When many other garden plants have finished blooming, these perennials will look good even while tolerating the intense heat and drought of late summer, as well as the cool evenings and occasional heavy rains of early fall.

At the very top of my list of favourites are the rudbeckias.  Perhaps one of the finest of all the rudbeckias is the truly hardy variety R. ‘Goldsturm’.  Growing about two feet high with deep golden petals surrounding a dark brown button, ‘Goldsturm’ just keeps pouring out the colour well into October.  ‘Early Bird Gold’ is a newer version of ‘Goldsturm’ that blooms two weeks earlier and still keeps going until late fall.  Both these varieties will give you many weeks of great colour.

Echinacea has been more recently sold as a herb because of its healing properties, but it also has exquisite flowers.  ‘Echinacea purpurea’ is sold as the herbal variety, but pink E. ‘Magnum’ and the white flowering ‘White Swan’ are classy looking plants that add an unique quality to summer gardens.  They last well, even tolerating some frost, and the spent blossoms make interesting dried flowers.

In shady spots or in full sun, perhaps the most elegant of all the late summer perennials are the Japanese anemones.  Dwarf or tall, white, pink or dusty rose, these plants are a definite hit, blooming as early as August.  The yellow-centered anemone blossoms always have a fresh look about them, and they combine well with so many other perennials or shrubs.  The white varieties especially brighten up shady areas.

For some early fall tones, add a bit of fire to your flower beds with crocosmias.  For years they were called montbretia and sold as tiny bulbs, but today they are usually sold in ‘bud and bloom’ as perennials.  Crocosmias need a somewhat sheltered spot and very well drained soil, but wow, do they ever add spice to our gardens with their fire-orange freesia-type blossoms!  Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is an exceptional scarlet red variety from Blooms in England, but don’t ignore a RHS introduction called ‘Solfatare’ with its golden orange flowers.  ‘Emily McKenzie’ is one of my favourites because of its orange flowers with striking bronze throats.

Lush looking fall sedums are especially important at this time of year.  The succulent foliage of ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Brilliant’ certainly looks great all summer and never stresses out in drought situations.  As the rosy pink blossoms open, they provide refreshing new colour for weeks.  They combine well with low-growing conifers or small flowering shrubs like potentillas.  As the pink flowers turn bronze, they should be left on the plant for a rather charming dried ‘fall look’.

Old fashioned Michaelmas daisies are still great for fall colour, but dozens of new, more compact varieties have been developed in the past few years.  The colour range has also been dramatically broadened to include deep reds, vibrant purples, pure whites and some interesting pastel shades.  There are also a wide range of heights with many new compact varieties for smaller space gardens.  Unfortunately, many varieties are susceptible to fungal leaf spot disease, thus lessening their appeal.  The latest varieties that look very promising for disease resistance are the ‘Woods’ series in white, pink and blue.

Heleniums have not exactly set the world on fire the past few years, but they produce magnificent fall colours very similar to rudbeckias.  The small gold or gold-bronze petals bloom well into autumn on either compact or tall varieties.  They stand up well in the uncertain fall weather and provide a continuous source of cut flowers as well.

Coreopsis have exploded recently with new colours, sizes and forms, but the old reliable C. ‘Zagreb’, C. ‘Moonlight’ and C. grandiflora are the workhorses and bloom consistently now till frost.

These are some of my ‘tried and true’ favourites that add fresh new life to late summer gardens.  Combine them with colourful conifers, broadleaved  plants and evergreen perennials, like heucheras and euphorbias for some spectacular displays.

Just Posted

Chilliwack launches study to evaluate seniors’ housing needs

Goal is to create diverse supply of safe, affordable housing for 55+ in Chilliwack

Sardis secondary alumni rally behind Sardis Strongman event

This year marks the 21st annual competition for students and fifth annual gathering of Sardis alums.

WATCH: All About Kids and Family Expo in Chilliwack

Fifth annual event had dozens of vendors for both children and adults at Chilliwack Heritage Park

PHOTOS: Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack

Family Day weekend powwow a colourful, vivid celebration of Indigenous culture

ACES grows the love of gardening with annual seed exchange

The event will be returning to Harrison Mills Community Hall on March 1

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

CRTC: Telecom industry using unacceptable sales tactics

Regulator held inquiry on sales practices of 12 Canadian providers of wireless and internet services

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

B.C. child killer denied mandatory outings from psychiatric hospital

The B.C. Review Board decision kept things status quo for Allan Schoenborn

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

5 to start your day

The B.C. government released it’s 2019 budget, we break down snow removal per capita and more

Most Read