Planting Design for Autumn
Autumn is arguably the most interesting time of the year for the garden. Although there are considerably less colourful flowers, those which have finished flowering now take on a rusty hue and a swathe of bronzes, red and yellows begin to encompass the garden.
Consider ‘Out of Season’ Perennials for Autumn Structure.
Architectural perennials such as Echinacea, Phlomis and Sedum will be beginning to fade right now, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t serving your garden throughout the winter.
Although technically dead, structural perennials still hold their form long after they have finished flowering for the year. Leave them to stand over the winter as they add brassy tones to your borders, create height and look stunning when the frost and dew settles on them later in the year. Also perfect for overwintering bugs which are beneficial to your garden.
Focus on Leaf Colour
Evergreens are popular for the obvious reason that they are evergreen throughout the year, but they simply don’t provide the interesting seasonal change many deciduous plants, shrubs and trees do.
Some of the best leaf colour comes from Japanese Acers. Green varieties turn bright orange to crimson reds in the autumn before leaf fall and despite being leafless throughout the winter, they are worth it for their colour change.
If you are looking for something for the winter too, cornus, or dogwoods as they are commonly known, have amazing colour change in their leaves throughout the autumn, but once they have fallen, their vibrantly bright stems are the stars of the show through the winter. So it is possible to get all year round interest from non-evergreen plants.
Much like architectural perennials, many grasses will die back over the autumn but still hold onto their tan toned papery leaves until their annual prune in the spring. Although they lose their green tone, they’ll still maintain height and movement throughout the garden during the autumn and winter.
Genuses such as Miscanthus and Pennisteum are easy to care for options which suit many styles of gardens.
Remember plants, shrubs and trees don’t need to be in flower or at the peak season of interest to provide a stunning display or to simply maintain structure in the garden.
When you think outside the box and consider all the attributes the plants have to offer, that’s when you create the most versatile and interesting garden throughout the year. Don’t play it safe with evergreens, although they too still do have their place.