The flowers in the garden are starting to take on a more autumnal look, with oranges and yellows appearing all over the place. I’d like to say that this was planned, and perfectly timed so that as August comes to an end the planting in my garden reflects the changing season. But no, being honest, it’s largely down to chance.
This dahlia, I think it’s a variety called ‘Mrs Eileen’, has been in the ground for some years now. It’s a left-over from the days when I grew and sold cut flowers, and is bold, showy and obviously a survivor having got through some really cold winters. It was great for using in autumn bouquets, but not so good for wildlife – the double flowers mean there’s little, if any, nectar to be had. But after it’s come up year after year with minimum input, I haven’t the heart to dig it up so, for now, it can stay.
The calendula are much more wildlife-friendly than the dahlia, attracting lots of hoverflies. Bright, cheerful, long-flowering and edible – they definitely earn their place in the garden.
The sunflowers haven’t done so well as usual this year. A lot of the plants were eaten by slugs before they even got a chance to establish, and the wind and rain have battered those that survived. But the plants that did manage to grow and flower are looking beautiful. A few are already producing seeds – food for the birds, with maybe enough left over to grow next year.
Like the dahlia, the rudbeckias were originally grown to use as cut flowers. I love the range of colours, from yellow through to rusty orange. The red admirals seem to like them too, and on sunny days spend ages sitting on the flowers, looking attractive.
More muted than the rest, but still one of my favourites, is the rusty foxglove (Digitalis ferruginea). The plants produce tall spires of beautifully marked flowers, which act like magnets for bumblebees.
Do you have favourite flowers for this time of the year? Or any suggestions of plants I could grow for a more deliberately designed autumn look?