Many herbaceous plants & grasses provide colour & seasonal excitement throughout the year. Some such as delphiniums and paeonies only flower for a few weeks whilst others provide colour for months, and their seed heads may provide winter interest long into the New Year. The perennial geraniums are wonderful plants, tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions and many of the new cultivars flower for many months. Amongst the new generation of blue geraniums that look similar to the old ‘Johnson’s Blue are ‘Brookside’, ‘Rozanne’ and ‘Orion’.and all make excellent ground cover at the front of the border.
There are several new sedums that are sturdy upright plants that keep their flowerheads well into winter. Sedum ‘Matrona’ is a soft pink whilst ‘Red Cauli’ has deep red, eye catching flowers. Planted with grasses they provide good late summer and autumn interest.
Sedum 'Red Cauli'
Most of these long flowering plants require sun and good drainage and Anthemis tinctoria ‘E.C. Buxton’ responds to favourable growing conditions by flowering from late May until the first frost.
Anthemis tinctoria 'E.C. Buxton' with Geranium 'Orion'
There have been a number of new achilleas introduced over the last few years. These tend to be shorter than the old cultivars so they do not require staking and many of them such as ‘Terracotta’ and ‘Walther Funcke’ are warmer in colour. They too if dead- headed regularly will produce a constant array of flowers
Achillea 'Walther Funcke'
One of the lovliest grasses, beaytifully soft and colourful is Panicum virgatum ‘Squaw’ . The leaves and flowers take on a rich mahogony colour that blens with the other rich shades of autumn.
Panicum virgatum 'Squaw'
Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'
Grasses are particularly valuable at providing a change of form and texture amongst shrubs and herbaceous plants. They move gently in the breeze and their fine foliage and flowers look particularly lovely when the low autumn sun shines through from behind.