PER­FECT PLANTS FOR AU­TUMN

House Beautiful (UK) - - GARDEN INSPIRATION -

Au­tumn can be a very ne­glected time of year in the gar­den, but it doesn’t have to be, says John. ‘There’s still so much beauty and in­ter­est to cel­e­brate. It’s not as fran­tic as spring, so there’s more time to en­joy the plants, and it’s con­stantly chang­ing as green fo­liage gives way to au­tumn tints, and seed­heads grad­u­ally re­place flow­ers.’

Cre­ate a per­ma­nent struc­ture of ev­er­green plants and trees that have colour­ful au­tumn fo­liage; ac­ers, birches, sor­bus.

Prune de­cid­u­ous shrubs and trees to cre­ate bal­anced, ele­gant sil­hou­ettes that don’t eclipse later-flow­er­ing plants.

Pre-plant plas­tic pots with an­nual rud­beck­ias, zin­nias and dwarf chrysan­the­mums to fill gaps in beds and bor­ders that de­velop as herba­ceous plant­ing goes over.

Choose trees with richly tex­tured or coloured bark, such as the pa­per-bark maple, which has flaky, chest­nut-coloured bark, or cop­pery, peel­ing Prunus ser­rula.

For long-last­ing golden fruit that looks lovely and feeds the birds, grow crab ap­ples, such as Malus ‘Comtesse de Paris’, or com­pact rowan trees such as Sor­bus hu­pe­hen­sis, with white berries, age­ing to pink.

Don’t cut back or­na­men­tal grasses un­til late spring, when the tiny green shoots are emerg­ing. Red tus­sock grass Chionochloa rubra needs lit­tle at­ten­tion apart from thin­ning out old stems in spring.

While dead­head­ing, leave seed­heads for win­ter in­ter­est on al­li­ums, fen­nel and pop­pies.

Plant teasels – they have tiny pur­ple flow­ers in sum­mer, but leave strong, hand­some seed­heads to add struc­ture through­out win­ter and pro­vide a refuge for in­sects and seeds for goldfinches.

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