Autumn review

by Jane on November 2, 2015

I am never usually content with the amount of colour I have in my garden, however this season I have been happy to see lots of different shades of bright orange, red, pink and mauve: standing at my front door and just looking around is a colour therapy.  It’s always heartening to have something going on just outside your door; what I have is a pyracantha in full berry, bright orange-red, and some pots of geraniums, helichrysum and fuschia.   pelargoniums in pots

This year I actually got round to cutting back some summer-flowering plants, and it really worked!  Geraniums Rozanne and Brookside are still in their second flush of flowers, as is valerian, centranthus ruber.  They have given more for the bees to feed on too.  Here is ‘Rozanne’, second time around:

geranium Rozanne

The asters and rudbeckias have been wonderful, and the rudbeckias are still going strong in November, though frosts will put an end to them. Aster frikarti ‘Munch’ has a beautiful pale lilac flower but grows small and floppy in my garden.  I also, however, have a tall aster that takes over the garden but gives clouds of pale lilac flowers and is easy to pull up where necessary. Aster thomsonii is parent of aster frikarti ‘Munch’, taller and less likely to flop over – I am trying this next.

Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’ is still flourishing at the end of October.  It starts out deep pink with stripes, then fades beautifully to a pale pink/mauve.  Cosmos Candy Stripe pink

Cosmos candy stripe pale

Zinnia ‘Hot Stuff’ (free with Gardener’s World) also lurked about a bit, then produced lovely flowers – less abundantly than the cosmos, but sturdier and better for cutting, though cosmos can be used for cutting as well.  The flowers are a little like small pom-pom dahlias, layered, with yellow and brown centres.


What I would draw from this is:

  • have a berried plant next to your door to cheer up your autumn and winter
  • cut back summer-flowering plants for a second flourish, eg geraniums
  • a few large pots of something with long-lasting colour will repay those hours of watering
  • putting a ‘moisture mat’ (provided by Anglian Water) and water-retaining granules in a pot, and lining terracotta pots with a bin bag with a hole for drainage, will reduce those watering hours
  • asters and rudbeckias are well worth growing, just check the heights
  • grow annuals.  They may look like nothing for awhile but when they start flowering they go on and on.

Now to plant up a winter pot.. I will let you know how I get on.

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