Plant a few attention seekers
Plants bearing berries, hips and fruit are a surefire way to create an autumnal focal point in the garden. The small crab apple, Malus robusta ‘Red Sentinel’, is laden with clusters of vivid red fruit in November. Cotoneasters also deliver an infusion of red, but many need a lot of space. Evergreen Cotoneaster lacteus can be grown as an eye-catching hedge while the weeping small tree cotoneaster ‘Hybridus Pendulus’, a semi-evergreen with lots of red berries, is perfect for a small garden. Cotoneaster berries usually last until after Christmas, not only providing a winter spectacle, but also luring in migrant redwings, fieldfares and waxwings. Brightly coloured hips also attract birdlife and the flagon-shaped, light-orange hips of Rosa glauca, an airy species rose with single pink flowers and gunmetal-grey foliage, are adored by finches and tits. Showier and larger red hips appear on thorny rose ‘Geranium’. Pink is another attention-grabbing hue in the autumn garden. The pink berries of Sorbus pseudohupehensis ‘Pink Pagoda’ appear with the grey foliage in late-summer and remain when the ash-like foliage drops, together making a wonderful foil for pink hellebores. Colourful stems also come into their own now. Coral-bark maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’) will have lost most of its orange autumn foliage but the coral-red stems will last throughout winter. The dogwoods also have glowing winter stems from the thick bright-red stems of Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ to the twiggier bonfire of orange, coral-pink and red of C. sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ or ‘Magic Flame’.
FOCAL POINT Crab apple Malus robusta ‘Red Sentinel’ makes a colourful centrepiece among evergreen rosemary and coppery sedum flowers. H and S8m (26ft)
‘SIBIRICA’ Deciduous shrub with good autumn colour and bold red winter stems. Sun or part shade. H and S2.5m (8ft) ‘SANGO-KAKU’ Flamboyant acer whose cut leaves turn caramel in autumn. Dappled shade. H6m (20ft) S5m (15ft) ‘MIDWINTER FIRE’ Deciduous shrub with fiery red and orange winter stems. Sun or part shade. H and S2m (6½ft) CORNUS ALBA ACER PALMATUM CORNUS SANGUINEA
Bright red autumn berries that last into winter. Full sun or part shade. H and S4m (13ft) SORBUS ‘PINK PAGODA’ Tree with blue-green leaves and pink autumn berries. Sun or dappled shade. H8m (26ft) S6m (20ft) ROSA ‘GERANIUM’ A Rosa moyesii hybrid with rich orange-red elongated hips from single red flowers. H2.5m (8ft) S1.5m (5ft) COTONEASTER LACTEUS