Keat’s season of ‘Mists and mellow fruitfulness’ is gloriously upon us. The beautiful golden palettes of autumn are brushed over the leaves and flowers in abundance now, so what can we do to compliment the tapestry of our gardens?
Container gardening isn’t just for spring and summer. Vibrant jewel toned cyclamen and autumn heathers bring cheer to hanging baskets or pots and will last all the way through winter. They can also be planted in beds and borders preferring full or part shade. Calluna Heathers bring long lasting colour and interest to your outdoor space. They don’t need much care so perfect for a low maintenance garden in a variety of shades from red and purple to pink and white or even rainbow colours which have been artificially coloured . In past years I have found an orange variety which made for a fantastic Halloween pot alongside orange and black winter pansies. These coloured heathers are fun and make an eye- catching display (but they will go back to their original colour the following year).
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”
-L.M Montgomery, ‘Anne of Green Gables’
Winter pansies are also perfect for instant colour . Readily available, they will go on all winter (I’ve even had mine still going in Spring) so will make an economical addition to the garden.
For a little more permanent impact and structure you might want to try a Pyracantha or ‘Firethorn’. A wonderful all- rounder with white flowers in spring and summer which turn to orange berries in the autumn and dramatic red in the winter. These boughs of bright little beads give great blocks of seasonal colour , feed hungry birds as the weather turns colder and look fantastic in indoor floral displays. I love to scoop out the centre of a small pumpkin , place a church candle in the centre and then fill the gaps around the candle with small branches of the red berries. Be careful though as they have very sharp thorns!
Hamamelis or Witch Hazel is another investment shrub. Slow growing but eventually becoming large, it will bring colour and scent to your garden in autumn and winter with its spicy fragrant spidery flowers in an ombre of red, oranges and yellows.
Of All the seasons, Autumn offers the most to man and requires the least of him” -Hal Borland.
Chrysanthemums are excellent for cutting and flower well into the autumn . These late flowering perennials come in a spectrum of colours and the variety ‘Hardy Patio Mixed’ will produce glorious rounded domes in pots and planters. Cut back after flowering or store in a greenhouse over winter to ensure flowers the following year.
“Winter is an etching,
Spring a watercolour,
Summer an oil-painting and
Autumn a mosaic of them all” -Stanley Horrowitz.