I was mulling over what to write in my October blog whilst walking the over excitable Jack Russell aka Midge and noticed along my route the amount of things still in flower. So I made a mental note; it is amazing what is still showing colour at the end of October in the north of England. Below is a list of what I saw close to home and worth considering if you are looking to extend the season of your garden.
Roses in a rainbow of colours both climbing and shrub; many varieties will keep going through till November having been blooming all summer, every garden should have one or loads (if I’ve done the design!).
Hydrangeas holding their blooms with the colours of faded velvet.
Fuchsias are in full flower at the moment; I must admit to never using this plant as it has a rather old fashioned reputation but recently I have found myself warming to it. I’m not a lover of the big blousy ones but the delicate flowered varieties in soft colours have a certain fragile beauty; who knows I might just take the plunge and start using them (but only the hardy varieties – life is too short).
Ceratostigma is another plant that I don’t readily use, maybe it is the rather unreal electric blue of the flower; however it is a really good splash of colour for the front of the border at this time of year.
Knautia is a very useful perennial and if you regularly dead head it, it will keep on giving. The airy nature of the flowers allows them to fit in amongst any planting scheme and if the flowers of Knautia macedonica are too tall for your border there are some good lower growing varieties available now such as Mars Midget.
Penstemon are still carrying flowers this late in the season; again another versatile plant available in many colours and sizes. Leave the foliage on over the winter and cut down in the spring to encourage a good bushy plant full of flower.
Sedum spectabile are good performers for late season colour and form; the flowers have now deepened in colour and will soon fade to brown but the form of the flower looks good through the winter months so cut back in spring when the new shoots can be seen emerging at the base.
Verbena bonariensis is another perennial that will hang on in there. If you find it too tall and floppy try Verbena Lollypop which has the same flower but is half the height.
Asters are the failsafe choice for autumn colour and the rich jewel colours really brighten a dull day.
Other plants spotted still flowering were:- Rudbeckia, Spiraea, Buddleia globosa, Dahlias, Marigolds, Weigela, Agapanthus, Schizostylis and probably many more that I missed. Not bad for a circuit round the block at this time of year.
There aren’t only flowers to consider as there is colour bursting forth from the berries and the changing leaves. It can be quite enlightening if you open your eyes and see what is around when you are out and about; this is where the over excitable dog comes in useful!