September has arrived all too quickly but we can prolong the summer feeling by enjoying the vibrancy of the late summer perennials by planting a hot border.
The colour most frequently met with disdain by my clients is yellow; a seemingly inoffensive and one would think, happy hue. However it certainly divides opinion and draws gasps of horror. I am slightly sympathetic to this as I don’t like the harsh, acid yellows such as winter flowering jasmine, however buttery and lemony yellows can be very versatile. Having said that I would reserve the lemon yellows for soft planting schemes mixed with white, blues and purples; I find this yellow doesn’t sit well amongst the strong colours needed to create a successful hot border.
In late summer the hot colours take centre stage as the soft pastels fade away and it can be very uplifting to come across a border that has been dedicated to these bright colours. A well planned border hidden from immediate view can be a surprise when happened upon by chance. There is a fine example of this at Wollerton Old Hall where the hot planting scheme is concealed by hedges and only becomes apparent when the space is entered which has a theatrical effect and makes it all the more startling.
There are plenty of perennials to choose from when creating a hot border for late summer colour. The colours can range from golden yellow, through strong orange to vivid scarlet. The colours need to be bold and vibrant; there is no room for subtlety. Listed below are just a few suggestions to play with.
Yellow: Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’, Achillea ‘Gold Plate’, Hemerocallis ‘Golden Chimes’, Helenium ‘Double Trouble’, Kniphofia ‘Sunningdale Yellow’, Coreopsis ‘Zagreb’, Crocosmia ‘George Davison’.
Orange: Kniphofia ‘Alcazar’, Helenium ‘Waldtraut’, Crocosmia ‘Emily McKenzie’, Achillea ‘Walther Funcke’, Echinacea ‘Art’s Pride’.
Red: Crocosmia ‘Red King’, Helenium ‘Bruno’, Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’, Hemerocallis ‘Stafford’, Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, Schizostylis coccinea ‘Major’.
This is just the tip of the iceberg but all strong colours that work together. If this is too bold a mix , then tone it done with some deeper burgundy colours either flowers or foliage and even the introduction of blues and purples will mellow the look. The lavender flowers of Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’ work well as the deep yellow centres fit the hot theme. The dark foliage of Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’ is a good planting foil even after the deep yellow flowers have faded.
These bold colours aren’t everybody’s cup of tea and unless specifically asked for I tend towards the cooler end of the spectrum. But if there is space and a client who can tolerate yellow then I’m more than happy to oblige.