Here at Kew Gardens, before the main autumn colour of leaves on trees and shrubs arrives, there is still a wonderful array of brightly coloured flowers to brighten up the shortening days.
When you mention autumn colour, most people will think of the vivid yellows, reds and orange shades which our trees and shrubs turn as summer comes to an end. But before then, there's still a chance to see an amazing array of autumn flowering perennials here at Kew which, if anything, are even more brightly coloured than the foliage to come.
I have picked a few to ease you into autumn.
Brilliant yellow Rudbeckias
Many of these late flowering plants are single flowered, great for bees and other insects as a late source of nectar. On warm days you will find them covered in a variety of bee species.
The cone flower, Echinacea
Echinaceas are from the eastern and central North American prairies. Their flowers come in many different colours from white through to the deepest purples.
Asters are another group of autumn flowering perennials that come in the blue - red spectrum, and in white as well.
The yellow Helenium autumnale above is, along with all the others shown so far, a member of Asteraceae, the daisy family. There are many more in this family that give all year round pleasure, but the autumnal ones are the most spectacular, providing a wonderful end of summer display in any border.
Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'
This Japanese anemone with its pure white, single flowers on wiry stems is a great stand alone plant or can be used to brighten up a herbaceous border. It lasts for weeks flowering from August until well into October.
Agapanthus, the African lily
Agapanthus, the African lily from South Africa, is a late summer flowerer in hues of blue to purple and white.
Kniphofia, the Red Hot Poker or Torch lily
And lastly another hardy African perennial, Kniphofia, the Red Hot Poker or Torch lily, both common names being very apt. This is a great plant adding stature and form with many colours in the red-yellow spectrum and some plants standing 1.5 metres or more tall.
Most of these flowers can be seen in the Dukes garden, around the Grass garden, Rock garden and Order beds. And while you're in this area, check out the grasses which also look spectacular at this time of year.
So while you're waiting for the autumnal colours to arrive on our trees and shrubs, why not come to Kew and enjoy the brilliantly coloured perennials which will brighten up even the dullest of days.
- Tony -
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