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Must-have garden plants for late summer

PUBLISHED: 09:49 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:43 12 September 2017

Anne Godfrey in her RHS Gold medal-winning Chelsea Flower Show display

Anne Godfrey in her RHS Gold medal-winning Chelsea Flower Show display


RHS Chelsea Gold medal winner Anne Godfrey of Hertford’s Daisy Roots nursery tells Philippa Pearson her must-have plants for late summer

Symphyotrichum Little CarlowSymphyotrichum Little Carlow

It’s been a good year for Anne Godfrey. The plantswoman set up Daisy Roots nursery at Jenninsbury on the outskirts of Hertford in 1999, and after 11 years of exhibiting at Royal Horticultural Society shows, she’s finally hit the jackpot with a hat trick of prestigious gold medals for her plant displays.

‘After years of winning silver-gilt and silver medals, it’s fantastic to be awarded a gold, and three in a row!’ She says.

Anne’s gold medal winning displays were at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, Gardeners’ World Live in June and the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July.

With an extensive selection of choice perennials and grasses, all lovingly grown in Hertfordshire, it’s not surprising that Daisy Roots shone with its show displays this year. This independent nursery produces strong and healthy plants that will quickly establish in the garden, while Anne’s expert knowledge is on hand to help guide you with any planting projects.

Helenium IndianersommerHelenium Indianersommer

Late summer into early autumn is a wonderful time for colour and interest in the garden, and here Anne shares her must-have seven plants for this time of year.

Anne Godfrey’s super seven plants

Symphyotrichum ‘Little Carlow’

Panicum virgatum ShenandoahPanicum virgatum Shenandoah

Formerly known as aster, this plant’s bushy, upright clumsps of dark, wiry stems are topped by masses of smallish lavender blue daisies with cheerful golden eyes that age to deep red. Grows to around 1.2m tall and will only require support in the most exposed of situations. An excellent plant for both bees and butterflies and the deserved holder of an RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Phytolacca americanaPhytolacca americana

Helenium ‘Indianersommer’

We grow a dozen or so different Heleniums at Daisy Roots and this variety is by far the tallest at around 1.5 metres. Upright clumps are topped by copper orange upward facing daisies with a prominent central boss of yellow stamens from August-October. Looks fantastic planted with Symphyotrichum ‘Little Carlow’ and Verbena bonariensis.

Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’

Rudbeckia trilobal Prairie GlowRudbeckia trilobal Prairie Glow

Panicum come from North America where they grow on open prairies and plains. P. ‘Shenandoah’ is notable for its fantastic autumn foliage colouring – shades of red, orange and gold glow brighter by the day throughout September and October. It likes an open sunny spot on well drained but retentive soil.

Phytolacca americana

Also known as American pokeweed, it makes robust, tall clumps to 2m plus once established, with panicles of white flowers in late summer then blackcurrant coloured berries held on pink flushed stems in the autumn months. The magenta juice from its berries make an effective fabric dye and writing ink (it’s been argued it was used to write the American Declaration of Independence). It will cope with full sun on a retentive soil but is also a useful subject for drier soils in light shade.

Sedum Red CauliSedum Red Cauli

Rudbeckia trilobal ‘Prairie Glow’

A joy from late July right through to the frosts. Tall, strong stems branch freely and terminate in masses of burnt orange daisies with dark brown centres and petal tips dipped in golden yellow. Unlike other very reliably perennial members of the Rudbeckia family, this is a short lived one – two or three seasons is the most you can expect, but worth every effort even if it only lasted one.

Symphyotrichum novae angliae Purple DomeSymphyotrichum novae angliae Purple Dome

Sedum ‘Red Cauli’

Sedum come into their own at this time of year. In my home suburban garden I grow at least 11 different varieties for the interest they add in late summer and autumn. If I could only grow one it would be this variety; neat clumps to 40cm in height carry succulent smoky, purple tinted leaves and are topped by tight, rounded clusters of deep raspberry pink flowers. Does best in full sun and copes well with drought. It gets smothered in bees as flowers open.

Symphyotrichum novae angliae ‘Purple Dome’

Does what it says on the tin and over time makes a low rounded dome of intensely rich ultraviolet purple flowers during September and October. Makes an excellent splash of colour at the front of the border at only 45cm x 45cm high and wide. It also makes a long lasting display in a vase.

Visit Daisy Roots

Jenningsbury, London Road nr Hertford SG13 7NS

07958 563355

The nursery is open from 10am-4pm every Friday and Saturday from the beginning of March to the end of October. Plants also available online via

Anne gives seasonal walk-and-talk sessions in her garden at Bengeo in Hertford looking at planting, pruning and things to do. The autumn one is on September 23, with winter tasks discussed on December 16. See the website for further information and to book.


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