Autumn colour planting inspiration

As we progress towards autumn some gardeners may feel a little down in the dumps, but there is no need! Here is an inspiring list of plants that can brighten up your borders in October and November.

1) Nerine bowdenii – these unique lily-type flowers make an impact when planted in large drifts (5 or 10 at least). It is an herbaceous bulbous perennial, which only grows to about 45 cm. It is well worth the effort with its strap shaped leaves and beautiful pink flowers. They can be found as bulbs in your local garden centre.

2) Rudbeckia hirta ‘Autumn Shades’ – the rich, rustic shades of red, orange and yellow, make these daisy-like flowers particularly eye-catching. They flower from July to October, producing a mass of blooms – perfect for filling gaps in a sunny, well-drained border or containers.

3) Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’ – (commonly known as Autumn Joy) before they flower the succulent, lettuce-green leaves provide interesting foliage to the garden. Then in late summer the salmon-pink flower-heads add dramatic colour, which matures to pinkish-bronze then coppery-red in autumn. This versatile perennial is a valuable late source of nectar for butterflies and bees and the dried flowerheads provide structure and colour in the winter garden.

4) Aster novi-belgii ‘Patricia Ballard’ – (commonly known as Michaelmas daisy) these late summer and autumn flowering plants produce a dazzling display of bright mauve-pink daisies. The flowers are attractive to bees and the resulting seedheads can attract birds, so this is a gem for wildlife-friendly schemes. It will be equally at home in cottage garden borders, or more naturalistic planting schemes where it associates well with ornamental grasses.

You can also make sure to have beautiful autumn colour in your garden by selecting the right trees. Japanese maples and other Acers, Liquidambar styraciflua and Amelanchier lamarckii all brighten up the garden in the autumn.



What Time Of Year Is Best To Design My Garden?

Designing a garden is a huge and daunting task. But, like moving house, getting married and starting a family, there’s never a good time to start. If you want to design a garden, then you shouldn’t let the season put you off making a start.

Planning your garden can be done at any time of year and in the winter months when all in the garden is dormant, planning your garden can be especially uplifting.

What style of garden to you like?

From experience we know that a good garden design begins with simple ideas. Having a rough idea whether you want a contemporary look or a traditional look (or maybe even simply a funky look) is a good start.

How will you use your garden throughout the year?

We build gardens all year round. There are advantages to designing and building in summer and winter. One of the big advantages to building the garden in winter is if the garden is messy in winter you don’t mind as it wouldn’t be using it much anyway. And in winter we can get bare root trees and shrubs, which can save money on your planting scheme.

I have noticed over the years that the gardens I design and build in spring tend to favour a flamboyant springtime look, though I try not to get carried away and to keep in mind plants that will look good throughout the year.

The best thing to do is view your garden throughout the seasons so you know what you like and dislike about each season. And you can work out how flexible you can be with the time of year for building your garden.

Do you get a lot of sunlight?

I always find it best if clients have lived in their house for at least a year prior to having their garden designed, because they will be familiar with the advantages and constraints of their plot. They will know where the sunny and shady spots are, the direction of the prevailing winds and where there is privacy from neighbours, etc.

Having a good understanding of what the sun does in the garden is fundamental. It can help you place your main seating area or a smaller breakfast area (we find most of our clients like to follow the sun around throughout the day, which means two or even three patio or deck areas).

What will you use your garden for?

This is the overriding consideration, it’s no good having a highly ornate garden with kids and dogs running riot through your herbaceous border. If you have young children then a lawn area is essential (or at least a play area of some sort).

If it’s for entertaining and eating out then a good sized terrace will be useful and I would suggest considering a covered area such as a gazebo or shade-sail.

You can design and build a garden whenever you like, you just need to decide what suits you best in terms of style, timing and budget.