Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Late flowers ‘can keep gardens colourful in fall’

As we enter late August, the summer season is due to gradually start giving way to fall, which his typically characterised by more uneven weather and a duller atmosphere all around.

However, there is no need for this to apply to the garden, as green-fingered enthusiasts are able to maintain a space that can perpetuate a flourishing and colorful character.

In an article for UK national broadsheet newspaper the Guardian, professional garden and landscape designer Dan Pearson noted that seed heads, berries and late flowers are just some of the many ways in which this can be achieved.

"A star this late into the summer is the Molinia caerulea Transparent, which arches out in a filamentous dome of two metres across," he explained. This is a perennial grass that is native to Europe, but has been introduced to populations in some of the north-east and north-west areas of the US.

It grows best in acid soils – like most grasses – ideally with pH values that are anywhere between 3.5 and five, although it can live in much more extreme conditions too – sometimes as low as two on the pH scale.

While its leaves are coarse, green, taper to a point, long, flat and sometimes slightly hairy on top, it is characterised by long narrow purple spikelets.

"The foliage sits low now beneath the flower stalks, which reach up and away like a thousand delicate fishing rods," Mr Pearson commented, adding: "I first saw Transparent in the gardens of Mien Ruys in Holland, where it was growing in glorious isolation, but I like it equally in combination.

"Starry crimson dahlias, tapering wands of hot pink Persicaria and wandering nasturtium find their way up into their branches like coloured fish in seaweed," the expert continued.

This can be great for gardeners who wish to create a homely feel around their property, but those who prefer to restrict their hobby to greenhouses also have options when it comes to adding a bit of color for the autumn.

In an article for online resource Greenhouse Product News, Meriam Karlsson and Jeff Werner – respectively a professor and a research associate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks – underlined the fact that raspberries are a strong choice for fall growing in a greenhouse. They added that this could also be quite lucrative for those looking to capitalise on an off-season market niche.

Among the many reasons for this is that raspberries have a different production cycle compared with most commonly grown greenhouse crops. They are a perennial plant, the fruit of which develops on canes in a two-year cropping sequence.

Based on its fruiting characteristics, there are two main types of raspberries as a result of this trend. The summer kind produces fruit following natural cooling during the winter. However, the type that grows fruit during the fall – alternatively known as primocane-bearing – produces a slightly more limited number of flowers.

"Fall-bearing types continue to flower similar to summer-bearing types following colder temperatures," the experts commented, adding: "Tulameen responds favourably to a greenhouse environment in respect to yield, berry size and flavour."

Tulameen is probably one of the most commonly-known varieties of raspberry, as it is the type that is most commonly found in stores. It has a typically high quality of fruit – which is very attractive, being bright and glossy with a distinctive conical shape – and its highest yields usually come in late August.

The berries keep their shape very well when they are being picked and last very well – not that this will be an issue for anyone who has plans to make pies and jams throughout the fall season!