As we head towards late summer, now is the time to start thinking of adding some stylish, fiery colour to your garden. We asked Dean Powles, plant area manager and buyer at Bampton Garden Plants on Buckland Road, to recommend ten plants to give your garden some fantastic colour this autumn. “I have chosen a variety of plants and trees; many would look good together in a collection and all give stunning colours during September and October. We will be stocking all of those mentioned from mid to late August, and look forward to welcoming OX readers to our garden centre.”
Sedum ‘Touchdown Teak’ loves to grow in full sun, planted in well-drained soil. Growing to around 50cm, they have dark red-brown to purple-brown flesh leaves with attractive flowerheads of star-like, rose-pink flowers from summer to autumn. Great for front of border or gravel garden.
A cheery compact perennial growing to just 50cm, Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Little Goldstar’ has numerous bright yellow, black-eyed blooms adding a splash of colour to a border or pot from midsummer through to autumn. Grow in full sun in a moist but well-drained soil.
Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ is perfect to plant in a pot as it requires frost-free conditions over winter. This clump forming deciduous grass can grow to 1.2m tall. Its burgundy-red linear flat leaves have pink margins when planted in full sun. Red flower plumes appear on arching stems in late summer adding further interest.
Adding grace to a border in full sun or partial shade, Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ have pure white, saucer-shaped flowers and contrasting yellow stems that flower in profusion in late summer, growing up to 1.2m. Although they will grow in any garden soil, avoid excessive winter wet and moving it around.
If you have a shady site, Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’ – also known as copper shield fern – growing to 75cm is the perfect choice. The foliage is evergreen with bronze-coloured new fronds in spring and bright orange-red ripe spores on the underside of the leaves in autumn. They will grow in the sun but need plenty of moisture.
Aster ‘Island Tonga’, growing to 45cm tall, provides a vivid splash of colour in late summer and autumn. Commonly known as Michaelmas daisies, this compact variety has bright purple flowers with a bright yellow centre providing an important source of nectar and pollen for late-flying insects. Grow in well-drained soil in a sheltered, sunny site in front of a border or in pots and cut back hard after flowering.
Another spectacular addition to your border is Ceratostigma willmottianum ‘Sapphire Ring’ (Hardy Plumbago). Growing to a height of 1m, this plant has bright yellow leaves contrasting against its stunning blue flowers which appear from July to September. It grows in a variety of positions but prefers well-drained soil.
A must for any garden, Cornus sanguinea ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’ is one of the most spectacular dogwoods you can buy. Growing up to 1.2m tall, it provides multi-seasonal colour and interest. During spring and summer, its mid-green leaves contrast with its yellow stems. Dense clusters of white flowers appear in summer giving way to clusters of dark purple berries; both are attractive to wildlife. The leaves turn to coral, orange and yellow in autumn before the stems give a display of orange and red stems in winter. It will grow in full sun or part shade in well-drained soil.
If you have space for a small tree in semi-shade in your garden, the Japanese Maple Acer ‘Beni Maiko’ should be a contender. Displaying shocking pink/bright red, deeply lobed foliage in spring and turning pinkish-red then green in summer, it concludes the year with a truly brilliant display in autumn as the foliage turns vibrant orange and fiery red. Growing up to 3m spread in 20 years, this compact tree will not disappoint.
For large gardens where space is not a problem, Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ has alternate, maple-like leaves that turn deep orange and yellow, providing brilliant and enduring autumn colour. It will grow in sun or semi-shade to a height of 12m with a spread of 8m.