Hats off to the season’s plucky survivors

AUTUMN GLORY: Nasturtiums are a very versatile option for most spots in the garden.
AUTUMN GLORY: Nasturtiums are a very versatile option for most spots in the garden.
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November, it seems, is now a month when many plants are still hanging on, still holding leaves, still flaunting flowers and being not quite ready to die or go into hibernation.

Winter is arriving later, and plants are making the most of those few extra days, weeks, to live. Some do it better than others, and that’s why certain species are becoming more popular with gardeners.

So, hats off to three of the best – the much-loved and very floriferous tuberous-rooted begonia, the star of thousands of containers throughout the land. They can begin to bloom at the start of June and, with watering and feeding, continue to throw out flowers until November.

And then, for real heat, a blazing vibrancy, heleniums such as the variety, ‘Waldtraut’, which looks so hot that it could almost be used to heat the house in winter, are now one of the brightest and best-loved blooms of autumn.

But while heleniums linger in ones and twos, perhaps the flower of the year, the nasturtium, is still around in numbers.

These long-lived annuals are ideal for planting as ground cover in borders, or to tumble over walls and fences. They are equally at home in containers or hanging baskets.