Thursday, 18 September 2014

Stars of the Late Summer Border

As we enjoy this glorious Indian summer, there are still plants in the border which are flowering and providing valuable late summer nectar for insects. In an earlier post you saw five eupatorium plants which had been grown from seed and donated to the long border. Here they are in the centre of the picture in full bloom, nestled between phlox and japanese anemone HonorineJobert. All three of these perenniels are both attractive and beneficial to bees and butterflies, which demonstrates how a wildlife friendly planting scheme need not be dull.

Earlier in the spring these lunnaria ( Honesty) were covered in purple flowers. Although these have long since faded, many consider their shiny, silvery seedcases just as beautiful. As much as possible the perenniels are left to die back naturally, often leaving seeds for birds during the harsh winter months, or hibernating sites for spiders and the like. A cobweb covered in early morning dew can still draw the eye.

What a lovely combination, the complementary yellow and purple. These stalwarts of the late summer border are hardy, extremely easy to care for, and quick to establish and spread. The yellow of the Rudbeckia stands out beside a group of purple Aster (Michaelmas Daisy), and you can clearly see how these plants are attracting a veritable host of wildlife. The Painted Lady butterfly is enjoying the nectar rich Rudbeckia, while a bee also feeds on the Aster. On the left a caterpillar is also visible. In the winter birds will also be able to pick at the Rudbeckia seeds.

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