Celebrity gardener Kim Wilde shows how you can bring colour to your late summer garden.
I once thought the anticipation of spring could never be matched - so much new growth after a long, stagnant winter teamed with so much colour after brown earth and leafless trees. I have since come to look forward to late summer in our garden as much as spring, after planning a late summer border several years ago. In the warm afternoon the plants glow in warm shades of red, gold, purple and blue with flashes of silver. Erygium, echinops and echinacea are among some of the stalwarts of the scene, bringing form and texture, as well as colour. Ornamental grasses too are at their best, and are a perfect foil for daisy-like flowers such as rudbeckia, aster and anthemis. Verbena Bonariensis dances through the planting where it has self-seeded itself obligingly - butterflies love its nectar rich flowers. Another butterfly magnet is Sedum 'Herbstfreude' with flat, rich pink starry flowers, which go on to decorate the winter garden in their seed-head state. Among my favourite flowers are the wine coloured, pin cushion like flowers of Knautia Macedonica which associate beautifully with the elegant, ornamental grass Stipa Tennuissima. Flat headed achillea flowers rise above mounds of feathery green grey foliage in shades of gold, yellow and faded pink, and may need propping up with some discreetly placed twigs. Most of these plants also have the added benefit of being tolerant of dry conditions, as long as they are planted well initially with plenty of good compost.