Late-summer sizzlers

The longest days are behind us but garden-goers will find plenty of colour and interest at our Partner Gardens

Hever Castle and Gardens, Kent

New for this summer is Faith’s Garden, developed by head gardener Neil Miller in conjunction with CEO Duncan Leslie and Nick Postma.

Prior to the 1987 hurricane, this part of the garden was covered with trees, but following the felling of many of these in the great storm, this area was kept as mown grass before plans were put in place to create a perennial paradise. The path here has been known as Diana’s Walk for the last century and was named after the statue of Diana which graced Diana’s Lawn in the Italian Garden until it was sold in the 1980s. The newly planted area will take the current owner’s name and be known as ‘Faith’s Garden’, after Mrs Faith Guthrie, in celebration of her 50th wedding anniversary this year and to recognise her passion for the gardens.

Running along the outer wall of the Italian Garden, Diana’s Walk provides an impressive 1,200 square metres of perennials. Many of the plants in this area were brought in from Tom Massey’s garden for Perennial at RHS Hampton Court 2017, providing a riot of colour in the form of verbena, grasses, echinacea, crocosmia, and rudbeckia. 

Grasses, echinacea and agapanthus entice visitors to reach out and touch them as they trace a looping pathway down towards the lake and Loggia. The perennials begin to bloom at the start of July and continue to delight until the end of September when the seed pods and grasses provide an architectural backdrop to the outer moat.
CEO Duncan Leslie says: “The new area has a wild sense of beauty and freedom about it which sets it apart from the other more formal areas at Hever Castle.

Echinacea at Hever

Scampston, Near Malton, Yorkshire

The Summer Box Garden at Scampston is coming into its own from August and continues to impress until March the following year. Notable plants in this garden are 'Molinia Transparent', an elegant grass standing 2m tall with long flowing plumes, which allow the late-summer sun to shine through. The Eupatorium atropurpureum is another good late-summer plant in this garden. The dusky pink flowers covered in bees and butterflies then become showy seedheads as they fade. Growing alongside these tall vertical plants is the Calamagrostis brachytricha, with its more bushy growth habit. Its purple-tinged plumes lean out over the edge of the lawn catching the light to show it at its best.

Rudbeckia at Scampston

Yeo Valley Organic Garden, North Somerset

The Gravel Garden is a wonder to behold in September, according to Head Gardener Andi Strachan. “After the anticipation steadily builds up through the year there is an explosion of flower and colour for the end of the summer,” she says. “Many plants that flowered earlier have a second flush, and the larger perennials come to full bloom creating a stunning tapestry of colour and texture.

Yeo Valley

Sussex Prairie Garden, West Sussex

Late-season loveliness abounds at this time of year at Sussex Prairies. The spectacular swaying heights of an unsurpassed collection of grasses contrast and complement later-flowering perennials. Expect textural softness and bold architectural shapes combined with a freedom and looseness of planting that inspire and cajole the senses. Look out for majestic miscanthus, frothy effervescent deschampsia, and a panoply of panicums wending their way seductively through a mass explosion of herbaceous perennials in full flower.
Sussex Prairie Garden is holding an unusual plant and garden fair on Sunday 2 September,11am - 5pm. RHS members get a 20% discount on price of entrance to the event, with more than 50 specialist plant nurseries and gardenalia exhibitors.

Sussex Prairie

Old Court Nurseries & The Picton Garden, Malvern, Worcestershire

During August the first hints of the late-summer glory appear. Among the earliest are the misty blues of the Aster x frikartii cultivars providing a soft foil for the vibrant yellows, oranges and reds that dominate this season. The gentle touch that A. x frikartii 'Monch' provides remains a constant in the border from late summer until the first frosts of autumn.The addition of half hardy and tender plants such as dahlias and salvias add an extra zing of colour, which again remains until the bitter end.
The palette of colours in the garden increases dramatically as September advances and the autumn-flowering asters come into their own. There is no time to worry that the year is waning as the daisies wow us with one rich and vibrant shade after another. The almost ludicriously bright cerise of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Andenken an Alma Potschke' is tempered by the delicate shades of lavender found among the Aster amellus, while the New York Asters bring us shades of white, pink and purple. Not that we should forget the other players on this stage with yellows streaming through from the Golden Rods and the whole picture softened and supported by the fluffy heads of miscanthus.

Aster frikarti Monch

Great Comp Garden, Near Sevenoaks, Kent

Great Comp Garden is home to a wonderfully diverse collection of late-summer-flowering plants. The hot border and the cool border, which line the lawn in front of the 17th century manor house, provide colour from May until November. Beyond the lawn, visitors can find a fantastic salvia border, which blooms until November. The salvias have been curated by William Dyson, who runs his salvia nursery on site at Great Comp, and include a wide range of shrubby Mexican varieties, which tolerate our climate very well. 
The garden is celebrating its 50th anniversary of opening to the public this year, and the Summer Show on 11-12 August will see the garden at its height of summer colour. It will also see the unveiling of the new 'Golden Border' filled with bronze, gold and yellow plants to celebrate the garden's half centenary.

Great Comp borders

Dunrobin Castle Garden, Sutherland, Highlands, Scotland

Finaly, for something a little different – the gardens overlooked by the fairytale Dunrobin Castle are home to a kale border.

Head gardener Iain Crisp explains: “After a decent pause to avoid rootfly and clubroot we have reprised our kale border feature. This year we are trialling rare ancient landraces of Shetland Kale alongside an old Sutherland variety and a selection of modern cultivars in many colours and textures. The border is presided over by a highland tattie-bogle (scarecrow).”

Apart from some some plants that are saved for seed, the rest of the kale will go to the young geese in the cider orchard, to help fatten them for Christmas.

Elsewhere in the garden, look out for 100-year-old Fuchsia varieties including ‘Dunrobin Bedder’.

Dunrobin kale border

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