If summer colours are lilacs, pinks and blues then autumn colours are reds, golds, bronze and purples. The colours of autumn are rich and warm whilst in contrast the air is cooling and the mists are rising.
According to garden folklore, autumn begins when the last foxglove flower fades. To schoolchildren it is the start of the new school year and to astronomers autumn arrives with the autumnal equinox on 21st September.
So, as the annuals and tender perennials fade away what plants will go on to bring colour to our gardens:
Acers must be the kings of autumn. In a range of colours and sizes they are a must for a sheltered spot in the garden. Other trees and shrubs that give late interest include:
Cotoneaster – comes in all shapes and sizes but most have one thing in common – glorious autumn foliage
Skimmia – evergreen leaves and red berries
Sumac – large palm-like leaves turn orange, red and purple
Pyracantha – perfect for thorny hedging the berries vary from yellow through orange and red
Fothergilla – an unspectacular plant for most of the year but wonderful in autumn when the leaves turn golden yellow and red.
Cornus – most varieties are grown for their eye-catching stems
Aster – often called Michaelmas Daisies, these bloom in September and October
Bergenia – the large green leaves turn red from September onwards
Kochia – known as the Burning Bush this annual turns a flaming red.
Echinacea – an easy to grow, late flowering perennial
Helenium – a real “hot bed” favourite and an indispensable source of rich colour
Chinese Lanterns – a real novelty, popular for flower arrangements
Rudbeckia – a late flowering perennial, perfect for planting with Echinacea
Sedum – interesting fleshy leaves and heads of colour that provide welcome late food to butterflies and bees