Take a look at your garden on this late autumn day, and be honest. Is it a place of floral beauty and delight? Does it make your heart soar with its vibrant colour and interest? Or could it be that a few well-chosen flowers would make all the difference? November is not the best time
Take a look at your garden on this late autumn day, and be honest. Is it a place of floral beauty and delight? Does it make your heart soar with its vibrant colour and interest? Or could it be that a few well-chosen flowers would make all the difference?
November is not the best time for flourishing blooms, but there are still quite a few late flowering perennials that will keep on going until the winter frosts appear.
Japanese anemones are perhaps the first to come to mind as they’re so easy to grow and do well on our Surbiton clay soils. Michaelmas daisies, asters, salvias and penstemons are also ‘good-doers’ and come in a vast array of colours, forms and sizes.
If you deadhead the spent flowers regularly, they just keep on giving.
For the wow factor in the flower world, welcome back the dahlia and chrysanthemum!
In recent years, their gaudy flamboyant blooms have been deeply unfashionable and scorned by the horticultural style police, but now they’ve made a resurgence, largely due to how they are used by garden designers. Rather than planted in large clumps, they are more successfully used sparingly among other foliage plants and ornamental grasses where their floral firepower can be appreciated; making planting borders sing!
There is a chrysanthemum or dahlia to suit most tastes. For va va voom, I’d go for the dahlia Pontiac, although my personal favourite is the Bishop of Auckland, pictured, an elegant single dahlia in deepest maroon. It flowers prolifically and looks great among pheasant’s tail grass.
Dialling it down, one of the loveliest, most graceful autumn flowers is the kaffir lily, botanically known as hesperantha. Originally from South Africa, this eye-catching gladioli-like flower has adapted well to our mild wet British climate, and can keep flowering well into December, creating colour and impact as autumn leaves fall and the year comes to its close.
So, while colour in the autumn garden can come from foliage, bark, stems, hips and berries, don’t forget the extra razzmatazz a beautiful flower can provide.
Janice Cripps is a professional Surbiton garden designer. For advice, planting plans, or projects – from concept to completion – visit www.janicecripps.co.uk