the best plants to accompany you until autumn

Hardy Geraniums (Alamy Stock Photo)

As we approach the height of summer, many of the season’s brightest flowers begin to fade.

There are some fantastic options to plant now for some summer colors, however, that will keep your outdoor space looking glorious and also provide late-season nectar for pollinators as they prepare for winter.

Miscanthus nepalensis grasses

When there are so many fantastic flowering plants, it can be easy to overlook the grasses. There are hundreds to choose from, but one of the prettiest is Miscanthus nepalensis, also known as Himalayan fairy grass.

In spring and summer, it forms a mound of bright green foliage and begins to bloom at this time of year, which is when the magic begins.

As the panicles finish flowering, they begin to dry out, becoming feathery golden seed heads that remain throughout the winter. Not only do plants interest you from now until January, dried stems are also a perfect habitat for hibernating insects that are good for your garden.

Himalayan Fairy Grass (Alamy Stock Photo)

Himalayan Fairy Grass (Alamy Stock Photo)

Eucalyptus gunnii ‘France Bleu’

An increasingly common sight in London gardens, the silvery blue-green foliage and peeling bark of the eucalyptus make them beautiful trees.

They are fast growing, however, often rising more than a meter a year when young to reach a size similar to a London plane tree.

For smaller gardens, Eucalyptus gunnii “France Bleu”, is a dwarf variety that grows only two or three meters tall and can be planted in a patio or large container.

hardy geraniums

Not to be confused with the equally colorful bedding geraniums found in window boxes and pub hanging baskets (strictly speaking, these are pelargoniums), hardy geraniums are seriously reliable perennials.

Look for cultivars like Geranium “Ann Folkard” (Magenta) and Geranium “Rozanne” (Purple/Blue), which help sew other plants together. The open shape of the flowers means they are also loved by pollinators.

Day Lilies (Alamy Stock Photo)

Day Lilies (Alamy Stock Photo)

Daylilies of Daylily

Plants, like everything else, fall out of fashion and it’s been a while since day lilies had their moment on the horticultural catwalk.

However, with our changing climate and extreme weather events, we are likely to see a lot more of the day lily as it is hardy and these days there are some fantastic cultivars to choose from.

Sedums Hylotelephium (Stone Harvest)

As succulent plants with fleshy leaves, you can be forgiven for thinking that sedums are just houseplants (some are, like Sedum “Burrito”, Baby Burro’s Tail).

Many sedums are actually quite happy growing outdoors, with lots of sun and reasonably dry conditions. At this time of year, many are just beginning to produce umbels of nectar-rich pink flowers that retain their color long into the fall.

Sedum “Herbstfreude” (also known as Hylotelephium “Herbtsfreude”) is an old, but dainty, robust plant that produces masses of pink flowers. Smaller sedums are also great for filling gaps in paths and can often be found on sunny green roofs where they thrive in neglect.

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