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October, 2018

Late summer perennial daisies

Summer is now behind us and what a summer it was...the hottest in recent memory. And while autumn feels like it's come all too soon and winter just around the corner take heart as there is still so much to enjoy in the late summer garden. The earlier stars of high summer have all but faded away and run to seed but they make way for the autumn bloomers that take us right up to the first frosts. After all the exuberance of summer, there's a wonderful calmness to the garden right now. But colour is never far away and with the low light at this time of year, late perennials are still working really hard to put on a dazzling display for us.

A visit to Bury Court Barn in the Hampshire countryside delivers all that and more with a fabulous display of perennial daisies taking centre stage in all their glorious forms. Coupled with grasses, perennial daisies are the stalwarts of our gardens from August through October and even into November. If you want to attract wildlife into your garden, then look no further than daisies - a valuable family of plants at this time of year providing an excellent late food source for bees and other insects. Single, open flowers are great for insects as it's easy to get to the nectar. Plant colourful late perennials, such as Asters, Rudbeckias, Echinacea and Heleniums, whose flowerheads provide an easy landing pad and they'll soon be buzzing for more at your nectar bar.

Daisies generally prefer a free-draining soil and an open, sunny spot so plant them in the right place and watch them thrive. More is more so for best effect plant them in bold drifts through the border. Mix in with a few choice grasses, such as Miscanthus sinensis Malepartus, Calamagrostis x acutiflora Karl Foerster, Stipa calamagrostis or Stipa gigantea and there you have it - a late summer border to lift the spirits, feed the bees and see you through to winter. So, grab a notebook and camera and make a visit to one of the many gardens still open to the public and see for yourself why daisies are such good doers in the late summer garden.