We often comment on the beautiful colours of autumn, the scarlet and bronze shades of the falling leaves and the low soft sunshine. Anyone would think the gardening year was over, but that is far from the truth. Our gardens can have plenty of fresh bright colour if we just take a little care to plan for it. Here are a few of my favourites.
Heleniums, the ‘Sneezeweeds’ come in a range of colours and varieties such as the deep orange Moerheim Beauty and Butterpat which is of course yellow. They will start to flower in late summer and continue right through to the frosts. Easy to grow and depending upon variety they grow to 0.75 – 2 metres tall so there is sure to be a variety to suit any garden, and the bees love them.
Clematis in a great range of colours a do a grand job gracing walls, pergolas etc from early spring right through the summer. I am particularly fond of the Cl. Bill MacKenzie which comes into its own in late summer and goes on and on, scrambling over anything in its path covering its host with its lemon peel bell-shaped flowers as it grows, and then the seed heads are particularly attractive as they shimmer in the autumn light. If you have plenty of space it can be left without pruning spreading 6 metres plus, or if space is limited chopped back really hard in early spring and it is far more restrained. If you leave the seed heads overwinter birds will use them as nesting material. My Bill MacKenzie grows through a purple leaved plum a combination that works really well.
I would definitely regard Aster x frickartii ‘Monch’ as one of my ‘must have’ plants. It flowers right through until the end of October. Its lavender blue flowers may not be particularly spectacular, but, it gives great value for money. It works well with so many other subjects, and is so obliging. It’s self supporting and tolerates a bit of shade with none of the mildew problems of so many of the herbaceous asters And the bees make a bee line to it.