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Late summer sizzle

PUBLISHED: 16:31 24 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:52 20 February 2013

Summer time

Summer time

Leigh Clapp visits two gardens with non-stop summer colour...

Sussex Life

AUGUST doesn't need to be down time in the garden. Late summer gardens don't have to be an anti-climax after the spring displays have faded. We can have non-stop colour and texture in the garden right through summer and into autumn.

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The flowers of a summer garden need to be able to withstand more heat and sunlight with loss of moisture, but there is no need to compromise on dramatic impact. Take advantage of some of the brighter colours and textural combinations of summer planting while the light is at its brightest.

Pale colours become washed out in the sizzling, intense sunlight, so this is a great time to experiment with vibrant colours that are characteristic of many summer blooms. By selecting the appropriate shrubs, annuals and perennials and dead-heading regularly you will have the pleasure of a long-lasting display. There are some real toughies, both drought-tolerant and reliable, that will happily keep on blooming.

Colour blaze at Adelaide Cottages

Joan Mezulis opens her garden by appointment throughout summer for the National Gardens Scheme. Visitors are amazed at the great variety of colourful flowers in the late summer show, when for many their own gardens have all but finished.

Although Joan's garden is an all-year round garden, she has concentrated on August for many years, with a lateflowering palette of hardy, traditional plants that thrive in the free-draining soil. Joan says: "Once established I don't water, they have to take their chances. Visitors say there are lots of things they haven't seen before, but actually they are common cottage plants that have been around for a long time - things your granny used to grow."

Through experience Joan has learnt to plant very densely with full borders and no bare patches. Some plants have twigs for supports while most support each other. As summer bulbs die down annuals are popped in, deadheading encourages more blooms and plants like delphiniums are cut back after flowering to give a second display in August.

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