Colour this autumn has been unrivalled. The warmth from the sun and the dry season have combined to extend the floral season. Take a last walk through the student plots within the demonstration garden. The fresh intake of horticulture students are on the cusp of grubbing everything out to prepare their plots for fresh sowings. Absorb the scent drifting off the Alyssum, a mass of white flowers. Marvel at the tall Cosmos that have not blown apart this year. The Sweet Pea towers still have pickings that would fill vases in the home, albeit with shorter stems. The real stars are two cultivars of Rudbeckia hirta, short lived tender perennials that are best treated as half hardy annuals; sowing, growing, flowering and composting each year. R. ‘Irish Spring’, with yellow petals and a green centre, the heavy morning dew settles on the foliage magnifying the leaf hairs. R. ‘Aries’ with a brown centre and markings radiating out on the petals.

Rudbeckia 'Aries'

Rudbeckia ‘Aries’

Rudbeckia 'Irish Spring'

Rudbeckia ‘Irish Spring’

Rudbeckia 'Irish Spring' foliage with autumn morning dew

Rudbeckia ‘Irish Spring’ foliage with autumn morning dew