Yesterday I stood outside this house - it belongs to one of my customers and we are planning an autumn tidy up quite soon. The plants have not been staked, watered or minutely weeded around. I’ve not made a visit here since April and the regular gardener does not give much time to flowerbeds. They have largely done their thing, unprimped.
In the second week of October, rounding the corner, they cause a sharp intake of breath, a wow and a stop dead in the tracks. The flower show is far from over.
And so let me introduce you to 4 diverse plants that just right now in dry old, windblasted East Anglia are still enough to get the pavlovian juices going........so to speak and not for the eating. In particular the aconitum, known as wolf’s bane, has deadly properties. Look into Ode to Melancholy and be warned by Keats against quaffing it in a dark moment: “neither twist wolf’s bane, tight rooted for it’s poisonous wine” The twisting and tight roots are a bit puzzling. I know though that it was used for coating spears and arrows. Holds a reputation also as Europe’s most deadly native plant.
Listed in the order they appear: Aconitum Sparks Variety
, proper deep blue and a statesman of a perennial, 1.5 metres high and standing its ground in a gale.
Abelia x grandiflora
planted two years ago and growing amain. Seem to remember we gave it a leg up by buying it in a 10 litre pot. I love this shrub as it always looks good and has a curvaceous way with its slight elegant branches.
makes its well known cousin mollis look like a rough and coarse fellow. A fab edging plant. Small sparkly and well behaved, said at the risk of sounding like the head teacher’s report.
Last but not least, Ageratina altissima Chocolate -
it is always late to show itself in the border but on arrival, as if a take on cowparsley has been effected. For the confused, it changed its name not too long ago from eupatorium.
All four of thesm thrive in a clay soil.
This small selection is from a library of plants still looking good in the tenth month. This is without touching on grasses or Piet Oudolf specials. Next year July and August will be my focus as I se them (in southern England) as months a bit bereft of the bust of flowers.