August Summer

Summer chic, with species and varieties of Echinacea and flowering grasses


echinacea - Summer chic webOutdoor living is definitely the way to go. Barbeques, drinks parties, children’s parties, paddling pools, sunbathing, snoozing under the trees – the lot. Plus why not enjoy some summer chic from stylish plants while you’re out there? Here are some plants which offer the perfect backdrop to fun in the sun for you, your family and friends.

Flowering grasses (the ‘flowers’ are the highly decorative seedheads) are adaptable and can grow successfully even in poorer soils. They are extremely versatile and perfect for centrepiece positions. As they move in the breeze they bring sound and motion to the garden giving it a wide open space feel. Grasses are a soft and sympathetic element in the garden and don’t need a lot of water or care.

Look out for members of the Pennisetum family. Pennisetum alopecuroides Hameln’ is compact, with bottle-brush flowerheads and dark green leaves that turn golden-yellow in autumn. The leaves of Pennisetum villosum can reach up to 60cm in length and take on a purple hue when fully grown. Pennisetum orientale is a mound forming grass with dark green leaves and bears beautiful flowerheads up to 14cm long. These are hardy to between -5oC and -10 and would benefit from a covering of dry mulch in winter in frost prone areas. Other suggestions of great grasses are: Zebra grass (miscanthus) or reed grass (calamagrostis), both of which have loads to offer.

The perfect partner for flowering grasses is Echinacea or Coneflower. As the name suggests, the flowers resemble upward-pointing cones. These add glorious colour through the summer months and are great in borders or even in open woodland settings. Echinacea purpurea is an absolute winner, flowering from August through to October (depending on location). Colour options include purple-red, in the case of ‘Bright star’ through the deep purple of ‘Magnus’ to the pure white of ‘White Lustre’ and ‘White Swan’. Echinacea purpurea reaches 1.5m in height and a spread of 50cm. They are fully hardy and thrive on well-drained chalk, loam or sand.

Once established, grasses will look after themselves to a large extent. Perennials like Echinacea are also easy-care. Cut back stems after flowering, which will encourage more flower production. In autumn, it’s good to cut stems down to the base and in spring the new shoots will come strongly. All of which means that to have summer chic doesn’t have to be hard work, which will leave plenty of time for the serious business of outdoor enjoyment.

Seasonal highlights

Make the most of the summer holidays. Why not help your kids be creative in their own corner of the garden. Visit your local garden centre and look out for instant colour and interest plants that they can plant. Wait and see, with practice they’ll be making a better job of the garden than you!

At this time of year your garden should be looking really great. But if it’s beginning to look a tired or you just fancy a change, why not indulge in a little ‘lipstick gardening’ to cheer things up – a fabulous pot of Echinacea and grasses to make the difference

Find the vibrant you this August – do yourself the power of good and get out there. Walk in the woods, on the hills, in your local park – maybe on the beach if you’re by the coast. Whatever the weather - it doesn’t have to be blue skies to enjoy the outdoors and the personal benefits are marvellous.

Quick guide to ‘Summer Chic’ plants

For style and elegance choose Echinacea and sumptuous flowering grasses


  • Rich foliage looks fabulous next to stunning flowers
  • Create perfect combinations in a pot for your patio or in your garden border
  • Echinacea and grasses bring glam year after year
  • Easy and fun to grow

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