With Alison Greenhalgh of Groundwork South
AS I write, it is a damp, murky autumnal day which lacks much colour at Iver.
The sunflowers have finished and are covered with many birds enjoying a feast of seeds, the last of the geraniums are looking sorry for themselves in the various pots and the numerous orange pumpkins have been gathered in for the winter.
So, this makes me think, what should I have done differently to provide a bit more ongoing colour to cheer us as winter approaches?
It’s easy to plant for spring and summer colour and forget about the autumn, especially as a vegetable grower focused on harvests, instead of year-round colour in the flower border. We mostly associate autumn colour with leaves, but there are plenty of flowers that contribute at this time of year.
Last week, I was down at Thrive’s lovely gardens at Trunkwell House, south of Reading, which inspired me to write this column.
There were several little garden areas which made a big impact. The first was a yellow raised bed full of rudbeckia (cone flower, pictured) and coreopsis, which couldn’t fail to catch the eye. The lovely large golden yellow blooms with dark velvety conical centres were interspersed with the more lemon yellow of the dainty Coreopsis.
The second area which caught my eye was a small show garden with a lovely pink and purple haze of tall, graceful, verbena bonariensis blowing in the wind with a backdrop of cosmos.
Of course, the aster family provides another great source of late summer and autumn flowers including michaelmas daisies. It’s worth a trip to Upton House near Banbury at this time of year which houses the National Aster Collection in its stunning flower borders situated on a south-facing slope.
So, I shall make a note to incorporate more autumn flowers in my garden for coming years, just to make summer feel as if it lasts a little longer.