• People in Helmsley Walled Garden

September 2017 – Border colour for autumn

Helsmley Walled Garden Border 96 dpiYou could be forgiven for thinking I am border obsessed and at this time of year I am a bit. I go and look at the Hot Border here every day to see how it is changing. At home too, I stand in my garden and look at the gaps and think what could I plant to make sure I have colour in autumn and beyond?

Fortunately for me there are plenty of tips to take away from the Hot Border which both pleases and amazes me. How can you translate plantings from a two hundred and fifty metre border into an average size garden? Well somehow you just can. For me that is one of the joys of the Garden; despite its size it’s still intimate enough to get ideas from. So here’s some I pinched earlier!

I want colour until the last possible moment and bright too, none of the subtle tones of winter, I’m looking for yellow and red and orange and purple. Luckily for me there are plenty of goodies that will flower their hearts out until early November if there isn’t an sharp frost.

Erigeron ‘Dignity’ (H50cm) looks like a Michaelmas daisy but isn’t. I’ve got it next door to Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’ (Tickseed) (H30-45cm). Both have repaid me by flowering their hearts out since July and showing absolutely zero sign of stopping even though the books say Erigeron (Fleabane) is a summer-flowering plant. Deadhead to prolong flowering.

These go well with Heleniums (sneezeweed). ‘Moerheim Beauty’ is a beautiful rich orangey-red and flowers from early July onwards. Helenium ‘Rubinzwerg’ is a darkly dramatic red whilst ‘Kanaria’ is bright lemon-yellow. They all grow to around 80cm tall and are a good accompaniment for my next plant.

Anyone who follows the Helmsley Walled Garden Twitter account (@HelmsleyWalledG) or our Facebook page will know I have a deep and abiding love for Achillea filipendulina ‘Gold Plate’. It’s one of the tallest yarrows at up to 1.2m, statuesque and brilliant yellow, turning a dusky-tawny brown over October. It can start to lean a bit so I plant other tallish perennials next to it as I hate ugly staking. Or just let it lean.

The red-hot poker (Kniphofia rooperi) is a stonker of a plant. At 1.2m it’s tall, has beautiful rich burnt-orange flower heads and only starts flowering here at Helmsley in late September and goes on and on.

I must mention Rudbeckia fulgida (Black-eyed Susan) (H up to 1m)and its cultivars, all bright yellow. Or Echinacea purpurea (Coneflower)(H up to 70cm), perhaps not as long lasting as some of the others on this page but has lovely pointy seed heads that last until the birds eat them. The humble Ice plant Sedum spectabile (H45cm) lasts well into autumn and when the seed heads finally go brown remain perfect through winter and make a lovely addition to any floral wreath you make for your front door.

I could go on but I’m running out of space. I hope I’ve whetted your appetite enough to find an extra corner to plant up one or more of these beauties. You won’t regret it.

Tricia Harris September 2017