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…


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.


Head Gardener: Jonathan Pearce

Favourite plants? The brightly coloured daisy-like flowers of echinacea has to be up there. They add great structure and are always a crowd-pleaser here.

Top tip? A good mulch in spring will prevent plants from drying out in the summer. It also helps stop the flowers going over too soon later in the year.

Where to look? We are lucky enough to have a garden which peaks in late August/September. The Millennium Garden designed by Piet Oudolf is 20 years old this year, and still looks as good as when it was first planted.

Scampston Walled Garden

Head Gardener: Andy Karavics

Favourite plants? Grasses like Molinia caerulea ‘Poul Petersen’, which are striking when they flower in autumn.

Top tip? Give the plant the right requirements from the start. Plant it in the right place and feed it with enough nutrients for its best performance late in the year.

Where to look? The whole garden has very good late colour, especially the Molinia Wave Garden and the perennial meadow.

The Picton Garden

Owner: Helen Picton

Favourite plants? Has to be asters, as we grow over 400 varieties! Aster amellus ‘Vanity’ is a real showstopper with its purple-blue flowers.

Top tip? Plant a broad range and make sure some are late-flowering plants, not just long flowering, so there is always something fresh coming.

Where to look? From late August onwards, our herbaceous borders are at their peak, and as the season advances the woodland areas bring extra colour.

Arley Hall & Gardens

Head Gardener: Gordon Baillie