Monthly Choice - September 2015

Helen, plant doctor and designer

Although summer is still in full swing, a lot of plants are starting to look a little worse for wear. Call in the cavalry and give your garden a boost with these little lovelies, which are just coming into their prime. Many of them will keep on flowering well into the autumn.

How we grow our own plants

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Cracking Combination of the Month



 

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm' and Aster × frikartii 'Mönch'

This is a classic combination that will create lots of late colour in the herbaceous border. The shape of the daisy-like flowers (one large and one small) compliment each other, while their colours, which are at each end of the spectrum, offer a fresh contrast. Better yet, the yellow eye of the aster mirrors the rich golden ‘petals’ of the black-eyed Susan.




Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'

Goes well with:

         

Why I like it and what it’s useful for:

First introduced around 50 years ago, this plant has won heaps of awards over the years. Quite right too, as it produces an abundance of flowers over a really long period, it is short enough not to need staking, it is long-lived, low maintenance and it attracts butterflies, bees and hoverflies. If there is room, plant it in bold drifts where the golden yellow flowers can be lit up in the low autumn light.



Aster × frikartii 'Mönch'

Aster × frikartii 'Mönch'

Goes well with:

         

Why I like it and what it’s useful for:

Often unfairly maligned, asters are seen by some as dowdy, old fashioned plants that should be relegated to the compost heap. Not so this one though. It is distinguished for its resistance to mildew and it will flower its socks off for months on end, providing lashings of colour well into autumn. The flowers will provide a rich source of nectar for butterflies and bees, but if cut and added to flower arrangements, they will often last for weeks in a cool room



Anemone × hybrida 'Honorine Jobert'

Anemone × hybrida 'Honorine Jobert'

Goes well with:

         

Why I like it and what it’s useful for:

Every garden (especially the shadier ones), should have some of these. It naturalises easily, forming large clumps that can be divided within a few years, and the flowers are great for cutting. Use it to fill gaps at the back of a border, where it is robust enough to stand up well without flopping - even in unpredictable weather. First discovered in Verdun, France in 1858 it is now one of the best loved Japanese anemone of them all.



Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’

Verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop'

Goes well with:

         

Why I like it and what it’s useful for:

A more compact form of the ever-popular V. bonariensis, this plant has an incredibly long flowering period. It works well in most planting styles, being equally at home in anything from a cottage garden to an ultra-chic, contemporary scheme. Their flowers, which appear in small clusters, add dollops of colour rather than a heavy block, and this creates a lightness which is very appealing. The flowers are good for cutting, and will attract bees, butterflies and moths, so they are great in a wildlife garden.



Fuchsia 'Mrs Popple'

Hydrangea 'Endless Summer Blushing Bride'

Goes well with:

         

Why I like it and what it’s useful for:

One of the hardier forms and incredibly long-flowering, it produces lashings of purple flowers, each with a tutu-like bright crimson corolla. They appear continuously over several months, dangling and bobbing enticingly from the stems. It’s one of the best shrubs for adding late colour and it’s easy to grow in borders or pots.



Hydrangea paniculata 'Bombshell' (PBR)

Hydrangea paniculata 'Bombshell'

Goes well with:

         

Why I like it and what it’s useful for:

is perfect for eking out the last of the summer colour. Being a paniculata type, it is also one of the best options for shadier areas - and it looks great in swathes beneath the canopy of taller trees. Being a short and bushy variety, it will make a good hedge, and the flowerheads look really good in a vase in both fresh or dried arrangements.