A Lovely Long Gardeners Summer.
The consistent warmer weather this summer has meant that gardens are in fine fettle going into the peak of the garden season. As we sit and admire our good work in August, there is always desire to continue the good show, for as long as the weather remains agreeable. With the warmer weather seemingly a trend for the moment, instead of looking forward to the Autumn colours later in the year, there is an opportunity to continue to maximise the strong showing of colour that peaks in August. Gardeners are often encouraged to think ahead to the autumn cleanup but it is not yet time to call it a day, as there are many plants, that will create a splash of real flower power before the Autumn sets in.
Hydrangea Arborescens ‘Annabelle’ is that very plant. I have been keen to get it into my garden for a while. It has brilliant large domes of mop heads, made up of masses of rounded small flowers, in batches of four-petalled creamy white flowers. It starts in July and keeps flowering well into Autumn and makes a gorgeous feature for a shady border. As a bonus the flowers gradually fade to dried brown seed heads, which are be kept on the plant as an attractive feature through the winter months. The price will be northwards of €13.00 but its strong white flowers will knock you out.
Ceanothus 'Autumnal Blue' on the other hand is an evergreen flowering shrub which has lot offer the late summer garden as it produces high impact blue flowers. Most Ceanothus peak in the Spring, so a blast of spectacular blue makes a strong statement in late Summer, as it is covered in clusters of flowers well into October. Ceanothus is a big shrub and can grow to almost 3 metres high. Its distinctive cool blue shade of flowers makes a great impact at this time of the year, as there is so much emphasis on the stronger colours in the colour spectrum, at this time of the year. It is reliable, evergreen, and easy to grow and doesn't need much pruning and will be covered in billowing deep-blue flowers from early July to the end of September.
"Anemone Japonica" is a must for late colour and can be planted in shaded areas. They come in shades of pink "Bressingham Glow" with single and double flowers and grow to a metre high plus once winter sets in they disappear. "Honorine Jobert" brings a pristine whiteness to the garden a colour always welcome in my planting schemes. The tall, white Japanese anemone grows to up to 1.3 metre high and so it is one of the tallest of the late summer autumn Anemones its whiteness is set off by magnificent green yellow centre.
They are not particularly choosy about soils. One note of caution if you have a small a garden and they are happy they will spread like mad and need to be curtailed. Even taking that into account, as far as I am concerned they are a welcome addition, and are the only plant that has grand ambitious, to conquer my whole garden that I will tolerate for there fantastic showing particularly in the late Summer.
The Dahlia seems to have come back in to fashion. For some unknown reason there long term flowering abilities were somewhat ignored in recent times.
Dahlias really come into there best from late Summer right through to the first frosts. There are some rules to achieve this, watering dead heading and feeding, follow this and you will be rewarded with a long season of flowers. Although the Dahlia originates from Mexico, it flowers and performs very well in this part of the world, even the annual varieties bought in trays of six in the Spring give a fantastic return on a small investment .In almost all kinds of weather, it can be relied upon to produce an eye-catching displays.
Dahlias can be grown very effectively as a mass planted display. The Dahlia society in Britain put it very well declaring “That anyone wishing to have a striking flower bed in front of their home can do no better than fill it with Dahlias the harmonious colours which will flower continuously through the summer until the first frost will call for admiration from all passers-by". The perennial variety ‘Bishop of LLandaff’ is a favourite with blackish-red foliage and brilliant scarlet flowers. It can reach up to more than a metre tall, so does best in a sheltered spot with plenty of sun and should not be difficult to purchase. Once you start with Dahlias you may be smitten as the range of vanities is almost overwhelming with an immense colour range and endless websites and clubs raving about the Dahlia family.
Other candidates include Heleniums are in the daisy family and come into their own from late July right into Autumn. Colours are bright reds, oranges and yellows and look amazing in large clumps
Also Asters or Michaelmas flowers from late August through September and October in mauve, pink, white, red and yellow they come in tall, short, single and double varieties.
Finally Sedum is an old-fashioned perennial that I often plant in spring, along with the usual suspects, knowing that it will put on a reliable flowering performance the following autumn. They look extremely average in the early season but when at there peak they look magnificent. They are very easy to grow, and should be planted where they will enjoy good sun in turn they will provide great late summer colour It is not unusual to spot several butterflies, a mass of bees and hover flies on a single Sedum plant.
'Autumn Joy' is good recommendation in red as is Sedum “Spectabile Hot Stuff”(Pink Flowers) both grow to about 60 cm tall and have large flat heads of flowers.
Top Tips August
..1.... Watering is a must during the summer months. Many plants will not recover from a drought.
. .2… Keep weeding not only do they make your garden look messy but they take valuable moisture in the ground that the plants need in the warmer weather.
…3.. Keep dead heading Summer flowering plants this week will extend the flowering season and produce better plants.
…4... Cut back the foliage from hardy geraniums once they have finished flowering as this should give a second flush of flowers later .