After the last six months of growth and hard work, the autumn garden is ready for change, reflection, and restoration.
Autumn is upon us. Like a mad man I’m busy taking the best photos of our garden before its gradual decline into dormancy. Although the garden is designed to hold its structure well into autumn it is more predominantly a summer flowering garden. Autumn is truly my favourite time of year. I don’t know if it’s the crisp blue skies or the fresh westerly winds, but there’s a certain sharpness in the air that you don’t get in any other season. Everything smells different; lighter and cleaner. You can feel the garden begin to take a breath after the last six months working hard providing growth for food, flowers, and cuttings. It has fought the scorch of those long hot summer days, endured that endless night humidity, pests, diseases, and taken the odd beating from the local tabby cat.
A time for change
Autumn is a wonderful time within the garden for change, reflection, and restoration. The hydrangea quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangea) goes through some dramatic changes of its own. Its large oak-shaped leaves change from a dark green to shades of red and amber, offsetting against its cream flowers.
Another great shrub that displays coloured foliage in autumn is viburnum plicatum ‘mariesii’, in that the foliage takes on a layering effect, making it an ideal tree for use in a woodlands garden or as a feature shrub in a small city garden.
Caring for your autumn garden
Try to resist the urge to prune to the ground end of season plants and leave your garden foliage to stand through the cooler months. Brown is also a colour and it helps provide structure and food for birds and is beneficial for insects. Autumn is also a great time of year to begin taking cuttings on plants such as large leaf salvias and preparing plant stock for the green house.
Perennials for autumn:
- Japanese windflower (anemone hupehensisand anemone x hybrid)
- Lepechinia salvia
- Perovskia atriplicifolia (early autumn)
- Melianthus major
- Salvia timboon
- Aster sp
- Dahlias (var)
- Sedum autumn joy
- Heuchera autumn leaves (coral bells)
- Ornamental grasses (foliage interest)
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