Late Summer Colour

One of the commonest questions we get asked in August in the garden centre is about how to add some late summer colour to the garden – the summer bedding may still be looking good, but gaps are appearing, or perhaps you jut want to add some points of interest.

Here, Julie has put together three collections including shrubs, herbaceous perennials and grasses that will give you ideas about how your late summer garden can be just as interesting as any other time of year!

As you’ll perhaps recall from other features on our site, a general description of shrubs is that they are plants with woody stems which may or may not be evergreen, whilst herbaceous perennials are plants with softer stems that usually die back over winter and come back again every year, – and when they return, they’re often bigger and better than before!

Autumn is a great time to get planting as the soil will have warmed up over the previous months and plants going into the ground now have a great chance to become established

In the pink

This collection has been selected for its vibrancy, combining different pink flowers with foliage in green and pink/bronze.

Japanese anemone

This herbaceous perennial has delicate upright stems of flowers

Berberis thunbergii ‘Fireglow’

A deciduous shrub grown for its amazing foliage

Sedum munstead

This perennial herbaceous plant is a great autumn addition to the border

Heuchera ‘Fire Chief’

Fabulous, rich-coloured foliage


Shown here in dark pink, also available other colours

Perfect in Blue

This collection shows how you can mix shrubs of different heights, colours and forms to create an eye-catching late summer area, including – clockwise from top left:

Ceratostigma ‘Willmotianum’

A woody deciduous shrub with striking blue flowers

Hydrangea paniculata

With wonderful paniculate flowers, these shrubs are an excellent backdrop in the border

Carex ‘Evergold’

This striking grass is shown here amongst shrubs, and is also a great choice for planting in gravel areas

Cotoneaster ‘Coral Beauty’

A shrub that flowers in spring, produces lovely berries in autumn and has a graceful arching form. An excellent choice for the front of borders or the edge of raised beds

Berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’

The darker, purple foliage on this shrub makes an excellent contrast with the blue flowers of the Ceratostigma

Perennial Magic

Comprising only herbaceous perennials, the different foliages and forms in this collection are a winning combination for later summer impact,  including – clockwise from top left:

Euphorbia ‘Silver Swan’

With unusual grey to silver foliage, this bushy perennial can reach a height and spread up to 1m x 1.5m

Japanese anemone

The delicate flowers make this one of Julie’s favourites!

Stokesia ‘Blue Frills’

Flowering later than many other plants, its gorgeous cornflower-like heads normally appear during September and October

Sedum munstead

A succulent reaching up to 60cm tall, flowering late summer/early autumn

Heuchera Little Cuties ‘Blondie in Lime’

One of the Little Cutie range of Heuchera, developed for their dwarf form and very vibrant coloured foliage


A  relatively dwarf Aster, available in a range of colours