Plants are winding down for their winter sleep

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After such an early Spring, with temperatures hitting 20 degrees at the start of March, it is more noticeable than ever that we’re on track for an early finish!

At the end of the day herbaceous perennials and deciduous shrubs and trees can only keep flowering and growing for a certain length of time until they decide to wind themselves down and get ready for their Winter sleep. I have noticed throughout this year that everything has been considerably earlier than normal and after last year’s extremely late start we have had two years on the trot from totally opposite ends of the scale.

What this has resulted in is Rubeckias which normally flower for us mid-September onwards being in flower from mid-August, and the same with other Autumn perennials such as Japanese Anemones and Asters; they’re all noticeably earlier. It will lead to some good Autumn colour on deciduous trees and shrubs, especially when the ground frosts start! But is there frost on the way or is it going to be a heat wave? Who knows... we will just have to wait and see!

At this time of year there is lots that you can be getting on with in the garden. One thing to keep doing is removing any spent flowers on herbaceous perennials, not just because this will encourage further blooms later on, but more importantly it helps stimulate root growth once the plant has finished flowering, rather than putting energy into producing possibly unwanted seeds.

Among my favourite Autumn plants are the Kaffir Lillies and we will look at these in more depth in a later article, and one show where we will be featuring these as part of our display – along with several other Autumn perennials – is Harrogate Autumn flower show. This is one of my favourite shows of the year as the tempo is slightly more laid back than our previous shows and it’s a great time to take in all the changes in plant leaves and also the array of late blooms – certainly a “plants persons” show and a great day out.

So if your garden goes a little green at this time of year, pay a visit and you will be surprised at the array of plants that can enlighten your green paradise. Of course remember now is a great time of year to plant as well, allowing the plants to establish before Winter, and then they will be raring to go in the Spring. If you go, make sure to pay us a visit at Harrogate show on September 12th to 14th and in the meantime keep your fingers crossed for our final medal of the year!