Discover articles on garden design, seasonal planting tips for your garden and other news and views from Gillian Goodson Designs.

Savour the late summer garden (Part 2)

Late-summer colour:  Rosa Gertrude Jekyll   (Gillian Goodson Designs)

Late-summer colour: Rosa Gertrude Jekyll (Gillian Goodson Designs)

September celebrates the beauty of the autumn equinox and the change of seasons. Be entranced by the Harvest Moon near month’s end. Fiery, late-summer colours were flaunted last month. This month we embrace a more restful palette to lift spirits as days shorten with plants that provide late nectar for our precious bees and butterflies.

Rosa Gertrude Jekyll = ‘Ausbord’, named after the influential garden designer, with its cottage charm and first flush in June, will repeat flower this month. Whether grown as a shrub or climber, the large, double, glowing pink flowers have an exceptional old rose scent, both sweet and spicy and will send your olfactory system aflutter. 

Reaching up to 5m in height, Clematis ‘Étoile Violette’ has a profusion of gorgeous violet-blue flowers and would look sensational scrambling through a tree, over an arch or porch. Nearer ground level you will be rewarded for planting Colchicums (Autumn Meadow Saffron or the more cheeky, Naked Ladies), mistakenly called Autumn Crocus. Try Colchicum ‘The Giant’ with white base and elegant, deep pink flowers. Plant the corms in borders, in grass or under trees and they will delight each year emerging before foliage. 

Sedum Herbstfreude Group ‘Herbstfreude’ (stonecrop), formerly known as S. ‘Autumn Joy’ has tight, fresh green little buds opening to starry flowers of deep pink turning chocolate brown. Consider leaving the flowers for frosted silhouettes over winter. 

The purity and innocence of the single, white flowers of Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’ (Japanese anemone) will illuminate shady corners and planted en masse will enchant and dance in moonlight. 

Now is the time to start planting spring bulbs, dig up main crop potatoes and, when brown, cut back asparagus foliage. Sow overwintering onions and plant spring cabbage. The harvest is bountiful with sweet corn, beans, aubergines, tomatoes and peppers. As the weather cools, flex those muscles with a scarifier – such fun and so rewarding removing moss and the like from your lawns – you’ll be amazed at the volume! Pick plums – bake pies or try one of my favourites, plum and vanilla cake. The smell alone…! 

Cobalt blue sky-mornings and vibrant pink-orange sunsets, the perfect backdrop for migrating birds. Be mesmerized by rooks flocking to roost at dusk creating a storm of black petals or be dazzled by the agility of pipistrelle bats dueting before hibernating. If you are feeling competitive… a game of conkers?!