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Late summer bursts of colour

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Monday, 24th July 2017, 08:00

Rudbeckia Rudbeckia

The August garden can be a little devoid of colour as the early flowering shrubs all finish. The shrub Ceanothus ‘Autumnal Blue’ is a nice one to plant if you have room, as it flowers from August to October.

This handsome, evergreen shrub has fluffy clusters of sky-blue flowers and small, glossy, bright green leaves. It has a strong, upright habit and is ideal for training on a sunny wall, or for the back of a south or west-facing shrub border or sunny wall. Although it is one of the hardier varieties of Californian lilac, it does need protection from strong winds. It needs space, as it grows to a height and spread of 3m, but it is a good one to give colour at this time of the year.

Brighten up a tired border
You can also pop in some annuals from the garden centre. They are full of jewel-like pots of Cosmos, Zinnias and many others which will brighten up a tired border. Think about planting some of the later flowering perennials such as Echinacea purpurea (the mauve cone-flower), Rudbeckia (a lovely yellow daisy), and Asters (the good old Michaelmas daisies), which will flower well into autumn and come in colours that look stunning in the early evening light, and early mornings covered in dew.

Prolong flowering displays
To prolong flowering displays, carry on feeding your tubs and window boxes with a weak solution of liquid fertiliser every week, and dead-head the spent flowers. This can be fiddly but it really is worth doing.

Pinch out the tops of tomatoes grown outside when there are three trusses of fruit, and keep on removing side shoots (unless they are bush tomatoes). Keep watering regularly or you could end up with blossom end rot where the ends of the tomatoes go brown.

Continue watering and picking runner beans, as leaving the pods on the plant will cause it to stop producing flowers. Get neighbours to help themselves if you are away on holiday – it can be a bribe to get them to water the garden! Stand pots in the shade or in a child’s paddling pool if you can’t get anyone to pop in whilst you are away.

Early apples may be ready for picking
Some early apples might be ready for picking now. To check, lift the apple in the palm of your hand and give it a slight twist. If it is ready it should come away easily from the spur.

Other Images

Californian Lilac

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