16 Superb Late Summer & September Plants from RHS Chelsea 2021

What an absolute treat to attend the incredible Chelsea Flower Show last week, positioned in a maybe never to be repeated September slot. Mr M and I booked tickets way back before we discovered he needed another op and before Rocky developed FIP so it was 50% of Team Moregeous doing the Sloane walk down to the Royal Hospital Chelsea for a floral and flower filled Friday. Not alone though, oh no. Twas me, 10,000 ladies in floral frocks, several BBC stars and my Supper Club buddy Ms Marmite Lover, who’d kindly put me up in her gorgeous North London home. Now I know why her Supper Clubs are so popular, what a space!

RHS Chelsea – from when I’ve watched it on’t’telly – overflows with colourful late spring / early summer blooms: foxgloves, azaleas, hollyhocks, tulips, hellebores, peonies, honeysuckle… but not so this year. For us newbies, and the thousands who religiously make it part of their social diary, here was a whole new autumnal experience. Russets and richness, gourds and pumpkins, rudbeckias and rusting corten steel, everything basked in the mellow tinge of late summer gold.

I captured lots of shots of the artisan, show and balcony gardens which actually deserve a post all of their own, so this one is dedicated solely to the flowers and plants which caught my eye for their ability to give glorious colour well into late Summer / Autumn. All are now firmly on my 2022 Find It, Save For It & Buy It list, once the men in my life are fit and well enough to give me enough time for gardening. Not that when they are fit again they’ll be helping with that mind, mostly just lazing in shafts of sunlight and observing me work. Both the cat and the husband.

So what’s on my list then eh? Incidentally none of the links are affiliate, just clicks to the RHS, the stands I spotted them on or suppliers I’ve since googled. If you do know a fantastic place to buy any of the below then please do HMU in the comments.

Likewise if you’ve bought them/ grow them/ have any tips, I’d love to hear them. I’m most nervous about the dahlias, tomatoes and aubergines, I’ll be honest!

Dahlias

I mean, who could resist. Who. Could. Resist. Already featured in the slideshow above, resplendent in her floral frockage, Andie is the creator of Dahlia Beach. She not only has the most wonderfully inspiring back story but also designed one of the most wonderfully inspiring Chelsea displays. Pretty stupendous for a first timer who literally only started her dahlia business during Covid – stories like Andie’s are a massive inspiration to us all. Her stall had literally everyone stopping in their tracks and just smiling, whilst taking a zillion photos for the ‘gram, obv. I planted a small Melody White dahlia from RHS Bridgewater earlier in this summer which is still going strong, but Andie’s explosively colourful explosion in the middle of the flower tent had me resolving to plant more More MORE!!

Order your batch for next year HERE.

Russian Sage (Salvia Yangii)

Pic nicked from Google as I forgot to get one DOH

This was one of the plants in the RHS COP26 garden, a space designed to show how gardens can play a key role in the fight against climate change and featuring achievable ideas to incorporate into our outside spaces. Russian Sage is a fuss free garden perennial beloved by pollinators, easy to settle, starting slow but lasting well into late summer / autumn. Smelled lush when I gave it a fondle. Sage does well in my garden, I’ve got plenty of cooking sage so this is a nice flowering alternative. It’ll give me purple lushness into September and is currently on offer at Waitrose. Tick.

Rudbeckia Laciniata Herbstsonne “Autumn Gold”

The Yeo Valley organic garden was a delight, displaying flowers, plants and habitats all found at the incredible Somerset family run farm you probably buy your yoghurt and other deliciousness from. Overlooked by an incredible steam-bent, egg shaped Tom Raffield hide, these yellow Rudbeckias shone like flashes of sunshine. I planted a Rudbeckia Fulgida Deamii “Deam’s ConeFlower” a few months ago and it’s doing fabulously, super high and flaunting deep yellow gorgeousness right in front of my living room window. This Autumn Sun is a totally different shape and shade, I love how it looks like a little ball gown – look above closely! It’s a robust herbaceous perennial and has the Moregeous name written aaaaallllll over it 🙂 The RHS sell it here.

Japanese Anemone “Elfin Swan”

Another very pretty flower giving me all the late summer feels was a delicate anemone called Elfin Swan, featured in my photo on the Dobbies stand, which was, incidentally, stunning. My garden design features mostly whites, yellows and purples so it’ll look different than the above showcasing vibrant pinks. Isn’t it pretty? Looks a bit prone to problems with slugs and overly damp weather (Manchester ummmm) but I’ll give it a go one day I think. More info and suppliers HERE.

“Liberty” Phalaenopsis

As well as the most beautiful beds full of colour, the Dobbies stand also blew me away with their incredible living walls. Mine at home was just getting going when I had a huge problem with white fly on some of the plants bought in, so to see such lush displays gave me hope for the future. They’d incorporated some stunning Phalaenopsis into the wall which is a cool idea. I’m unsure if mine is too south facing for such delicacies (orchids don’t usually like bright sunlight do they?) but I might give it a go in a position shaded by a more leafy plant. Just looks so glamorous in a green wall doesn’t it?

“Rainbow Candy Crush” Kale

I saw this on the ‘Best Of’ stand so will accept no plaudits for discovery but what a beast eh? An edible ornamental which just looks and apparently tastes amazeballs. There’s little room in my garden for veg growing however I might make an exception for this beauty, but only if Peter promises to come round to test eat, or make a ‘steer fry’. What? You don’t know Peter? Keep scrolling. I googled Rainbow Kale to find a seller for us all, and Peter popped up. He’s my new favourite expert!!

Just imagine making fluorescent kale crisps and salads, let’s make it a thing 😉

You can buy this magnificent beast, no, not Peter, the kale – at Suttons for 2022 delivery

Hibiscus Trionum “Simply Love” or Flower-Of-An-Hour

This beautiful little flower was hidden away in the large indoor tent and I’m so sorry not to have noted down the stall it was on. The individual flowers are almost iridescent and though short lived, appearing and vanishing in a day, the bushy plant they’re on constantly replenishes with blooms though summer right up to autumn. Bees love them too. Added bonus – the fruiting calyces mature into translucent dried pods which are lovely to display in dried arrangements. Often grown from seed, they can over-winter but don’t like frost so I’m not sure my Manchester garden would be ideal for repeat growth. Definitely going to try them next year though, as a one off and maybe try and collect seeds. Find them at Chiltern Seeds here.

“Little Miss Figgy” Ficus Carica

I desperately needed to trim my fig tree in the front garden earlier this year but forgot, so it’s on the Moregeous To Do list for Spring 2022, having reached ridiculously high heights which make fig picking impossible. So here’s an idea for those with no ladders and little time for pruning – a mini fig tree! To cute for words, at less than 1m wide and high fully grown, Little Miss Figgy is perfect for small gardens, balconies or conservatories. She needs full sun and good drainage. I’m very tempted to get one for my office when it’s done. Buy her at the RHS site or many other good stockists.

Allium “Lavender Bubbles”

Who can resist an allium, they’re fun, colourful and give easy majestic height to any garden, but most are long gone by summer. Let me introduce you to Lavender Bubbles, who loiters with intent until August to pop up and bring lilac lollipops into early autumn. Kinda looks like an agapanthus, all in a clump, doesn’t it? I’m not sure but am guessing they just planted a whole heap of the hardy bulbs in the pot together so I reckon you could do that out in the garden too, as opposed to scattering them around. I’m going to give this one a go underneath some sunflowers next year for a full on colour explosion! The pictures on the Thompson-Morgan site are actually better than mine, much more vibrant, click to buy HERE.

Sedum “Burrito” Morganianum

Not really an Autumn speech as such, but I liked it. I’m not really one for succulents, though we’ve got a green roof on top of the bin store which seems the thrive through winter and summer, I don’t have many indoors. They’re super easy to look after though and also to propagate, I read. Once you have once sedum plant, you should never need another as they just snap and grow. This one, also known as Donkey’s Tail, caught my eye as really good fun, thick trailing stems which could be grown as a plant on it’s own or mixed in with other succulents. Tempted for my bedroom fireplace, the textures really appeal to me…

Buy online at Happy House Plants or at one of the many RHS shows direct from growers.

“Royal Purple” Liriope Muscari

Muscari or grape hyacinth already grows in the Moregeous garden in Spring, and one of the many new things I learned at RHS Chelsea was that different versions of the plant can flower much later in the season. This Royal Purple is the most wonderful vibrant purple, with long spikes of colour shooting out of arching greenery. A brilliant low level burst of Autumn colour without being typically Autumn colour, if you know what I mean. Buy from your local garden centre or currently on offer at Waitrose.. I’ve ordered mine 🙂

“Cherry Baby” Tomatoes

My tomatoes bought at Bud Garden Centre in Spring have done super well in 2021, despite the hideous rain earlier in the year. I planted them in a small wall hung galvanised vintage holder and though they were very demanding in terms of water and food, picking regular bite sized toms was a delight. Compared to these at Chelsea though, boy oh boy mine were small fry. Look at the size of those stalks and the length of those tomato stems – jeez!! All neatly trimmed and cleaned at the bottom like a tree almost, the grow bag opening protected ‘n’ hessianed ‘n’ everything. I need to srsly up my tomato game next year and I’m all in for this variety. Cherry Babies, come to momma.

Buy them at Pennard Plants, the growers of these magnificent beasts. My seeds are already ordered!

“White Knight” Aubergine

Wait what. White Eggplants? Honestly the Pennard Plants stand in the greatest was just a joy to behold. I only want to have a bash at growing plants I can’t buy easily in my local fruit n veg shop so these are also on the list. Seeds only though, just like the Cherry Baby above #eek. Will I be able to grown them? Who knows. Will I have a go? Yes. Come next September will we have specimens like this hanging at the Moregeous bifolds? Er….. let’s wait and see shall we. He who dares, Rodney, he who dares. Buy them at Pennard Plants. My seeds are in the post.

As opposed to in the bag. I’m not confident 😉

“Lavender Spires” Verbena MacDouglii

The more well known Verbena Bonariensis, so often seen at RHS shows earlier in the season and which grows well and self-seeds like crazy in my garden, has usually dried up by September so this late flowering Verbena caught my eye on the Binny Plants stand. Anything which grows in Scotland will do well in Manchester and theirs looked superb, though they haven’t any for sale right now. Try the RHS site for other suppliers. It’s a clump forming perennial, with high delicate flowers, yet is super hardy, liking full sun but a sheltered position as it’s so tall. Perfect for my garden.

Inula Magnifica “Giant Fleabane”

I absolutely adore impactful yellow flowers which bring sunshine even when the Northern weather fails to do so. Which, let’s be honest, happens with some regularity. This Giant Fleabane can grow up to 6ft tall, a perennial fairly hardy in temperate gardens. It’s just so beautifully ornamental isn’t it, reminiscent of those fab 1960’s golden sunburst clocks. You can buy it from seed or as a small plant, most are still propagating for delivery in a few months I’ve found online, such as at Beth Chatto. All the best things are worth waiting for though eh?

Coleus Caninus “Scaredy Cat Plant”

Now then, I’m not sure this is the best plant for the Moregeous garden given that it’s pretty much owned by Missy Moo and Rocky Rooster, but I guess if there’s a particular part I don’t want them to, ahem, “use regularly” then this is the plant for that spot. Apparently cats, dogs, foxes and even rabbits don’t like the acrid smell of the leaves, which we can’t smell at all. It’s only half hardy so might need covering in the depths of winter but aren’t the flowers just so pretty? I couldn’t find a lot of these online, but this is a good resource at Thompson-Morgan. They look like they need a bit of care to get plugs going so I might wait til next year to buy a big healthy one #lazygardener 😉

I hope you liked some of my choices and if you’re looking for some late summer flowering options these gave you food for thought. Let me know if you go for any and how you get on, I’d love to know. I’ll do the same on Instagram so maybe follow over there too, Sian x

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