Like everyone, I love the heady days of summer with its colourful blooms vying for sunlight and the warmth in which to sit on the patio and enjoy it all! More often than not, though, these days September and October are pretty good too.
Yet autumn is my favourite, more cosy, season, if only for the plants that are available now – in all the best colours of golden, warm reds and purples.
During most years, autumn heralds chillier days and less brash, glowing sunshine, and I can never shake off the ‘back to school’ feel of the season. Things are slowing down, colours are more muted, and in the garden we’re all starting again to prepare for a new year. I love it!
The end of high season doesn’t need to be dull, so why not pep up your pots, baskets and borders with a terrific array of plants, which will in many cases most likely see you through the last months of the year with a burst of colour, too.
I’ve got a real showpiece of a hanging basket greeting guests to my garden at the moment, with spiky-leaved Cordyline ‘Pink Passion’, Heuchera ‘Marmalade’ –
both of which have variety names that aptly describe their colours – and a large bright green trailing ivy cascading down.
All these foliage plants are evergreen – or ‘everpink’ in the cordyline’s case – so they’ll stand firm for as long as you want them there. You can add variation every season by just changing the bedding plants at the front for a bit of a shake up.
At the moment I have some pink and white cyclamen in there to help pick out the other pink hues, but you might like to also plant some spring bulbs now to pop up in the New Year.
It’s the perfect time to plant shrubs and trees in gaps, while the soil is warm and they can get established through autumn and winter. Go for hot colour with evergreen Photinia ‘Red Robin’, which is a great hedging plant, and placed next to a lime-green choisya for contrast your garden will be as bright and breezy as
Reliable sedums, Japanese anemones and some grasses such as pennisetum and miscanthus add wavy structure, and some cactus-type or quirky tubular-petalled honka dahlias will give late-season colour and life.
Three autumn jobs... for a lovely lawn
Use a spring-tined rake to keep down levels of thatch (old grass stems, dead moss and other debris),which can stop water and feed getting to the right places.
Spiking a compacted lawn allows better movement of air and prevents waterlogging. Use a fork or a specialised tool to achieve the best results.
Tackle fairy ring lawn disease
Fairy rings of mushrooms can kill grass. No fungicide is available but water and feed well to deter them.
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