Pensthorpe Natural Park - late summer colour - 2-for-1 garden

Late summer colour

Discover secrets from head gardeners on planting for successful late summer colour.

As summer days start to draw in, you might think gardens are past their peak season, but on the contrary, many come into their own in the late summer. We asked the head gardeners at a selection of participating 2-for-1 gardens for their top tips for planting stunning late summer colour…


Newby Hall Gardens

Owner and Curator: Lucinda Compton

Favourite plant (for late summer colour)? The Autumn Garden at Newby Hall is famous for its new world Salvias, so I would have to say salvias…for the range of explosive and impactful colour and the variety of form.

Top tip for long-lasting flowers? In order to extend flowering life, often the team adopt the ‘Chelsea Chop’, cutting back more than just dead-heading, normally done around the time of the Chelsea Flower Show, but at Newby we are still doing this in July!
Where to look in the garden? The best place to see late summer colour is actually the Autumn Garden which dazzles with colour every year, here you’ll find over 40 varieties of new world salvias, it even has it’s own variety, Salvia microphylla ‘Newby Hall’. Other late-flowering herbaceous plants are grown with a view to attract pollinating insects.

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

Head Gardener: Fran Clifton

Favourite plant? Scutellaria incana is a lovely North American perennial, commonly known as the Skullcap. It’s usually blue, however, can vary in shades of light to darker tones. Self-supporting and sturdy, it doesn’t need any support even in strong winds.

Top tip? To keep flowers going as long as possible, you ought to keep the moisture level as balanced as possible, such as using a layer of mulch. Compost or even wood chip (well-seasoned) will not only help to suppress the weeds, but retain moisture too.

Where to look? Centenary Border is certainly top of the list, closely followed by the pond and of course Hydrangea Walk.

Borde Hill Garden

Head Gardener: Andy Stevens

Favourite Plant? Phygelius ‘Funfair Coral’ (Cape fuchsia) with arching spikes of coral purple trumpet flowers. It’s a resilient woody perennial plant and does well in our rich clay soil. It’s an attractive plant with good green foliage, ideal for the front of a border or in a container.

Top tip? Watering regularly and for a long period, at night or in the early morning. Mulch well for water retention and for feeding the plant.

Where to look? In the Mid-Summer Border (which is south-west facing) and in the beds outside the greenhouse, where it’s sheltered and sunny.

Pensthorpe Natural Park

Head Gardener: Jonathan Pearce