If you have a sunny spot then it’s well worth creating a border of ‘hot’ colours, with red, orange and yellow flowers.
Perennials that suit hot borders, such as heleniums, rudbeckias and achilleas, tend to come into their own in late summer, when their fiery tones are offset by mellow sunshine.
Here are eight must-have perennials for a hot border.
No hot border would be complete without some rudbeckias or coneflowers. There are many varieties to choose from, varying in height and in a range of colours from lemon to russet. They are best planted in groups or drifts for maximum impact.
Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’
Many sunflowers are perennials, but Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ is a perennial, which means it will light up your garden year after year. It produces masses of pale yellow flowers from July to September and reaches a height of 2m, so is best used at back of the border.
Achillea (yarrow) come in a range of colours, from orange to pale yellow, and from white to shocking pink. Their flat flowerheads contrast with other flower shapes and make excellent landing pads for insects. Grow them at the front or middle of the border.
Crocosmias have upright, sword-shaped foliage, from which sprays of bright orange or red flowers, carried in branched spikes, appear in late summer. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ bears sprays of intense red flowers and looks especially good in hot planting schemes.
Dahlias come in a myriad of ‘hot’ colours and flower abundantly from July to September, with regular deadheading. Plant in the middle of the border and stake if necessary.
Hemerocallis are also known as day lilies, as each flower only lasts for a day. This isn’t a problem, though, as each plant produces masses of blooms for weeks on end. Plant towards the front of a border. The foliage can be evergreen in mild regions.
The flower spikes of Kniphofia (or red hot pokers) range in colour from pale lemon to red and appear to glow in the border. Their form contrasts nicely with that of other plants.
Heleniums have a characteristic flower shape and come in a range of hot shades. They flower from mid to late summer and are loved by bees. Plant in the middle of the border; some varieties may need staking.
Add some grasses
Ornamental grasses such as miscanthus, stipa and pennisetum complement late-season perennials beautifully – be sure to add a few to your planting scheme.