Autumn is such a beautiful season. The days are still long, slow and warm enough to enjoy being outside, but we now watch as the trees and shrubs around us start to change their appearance.
With each day that passes, we see their leaves gradually transforming, from bright shades of green, to vibrant reds, oranges, yellows, magentas and browns.
Although these new emerging colours are wonderful to see, it does mean that the flowering bulbs we love in our gardens aren’t quite as common now as they were in summer.
If you love flowers in your garden, then autumn probably isn’t going to be your favourite season. Plus, there’s all those pesky leaves to clear up.
But all is not lost. For you see, there’s literally hundreds of autumn flowering bulbs that’ll give your garden a nice injection of vibrancy. They compliment autumn colours wonderfully and make sitting out back a pleasure deep into October.
So if you’re up for a little digging and forward planning, here are 10 flowering plants you can plant in borders and containers in the spring for a glorious autumn spread:
This is a striking bloom, and the national flower of Mexico. With leafy stems and one flower per stem, planting these compactly creates a lovely collection. The exotic colours add vibrancy to any garden in autumn. You can get dahlias in a lovely bronze colour. They bloom in July, last until late September and are easy to grow.
Nerine flowers are gorgeous. Nerine bowdenii is the hardiest species. It flowers in Autumn (summer-dormant) and grows to 50cm. The flowers are 6-8cm in size, so are rather substantial. They’re bright pink and look glorious on an Autumn morning. These are perfect as the main autumn flower in your spread.
Platycodon grandifloras is known as the Chinese Bellflower. It has neat ovate laves, thin stems and open bell-shaped flowers. It’s classed as a compact flowering plant although it can grow up to 60cm. The flower colour is a charming, vibrant purple and lasts through to October. A lovely addition to any garden.
Tuberous Begonias are perfect for your hanging baskets and containers. They’re also suitable as a bedding plant. They grow fast and bloom through into October in orange, pink, red, white or yellow. For a late autumn bloom, choose Hardy Begonias - they resist frost and yellowing early in the fall.
This tuberous perennial grows to 12cm with 3cm flowers, making it the perfect complimentary flower to nerine or dahlia. The flowers are fragrant but do require some shelter from the wind due to their delicacy. They flower pink in autumn, lasting through to November. A perfect little autumn bulb.
Love daises? Michaelmas Daisy is for you. This glorious flowering plant bears double, violet-blue, daisy-like flowers with yellow centres. It can grow up to 90cm high and adds a real touch of vibrancy to an autumn garden. It sits as foliage in spring and summer, blooming in autumn and lasting through to November.
Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana)
If you like berries, you’ll love Callicarpa Americana. This glorious, arching shrub has free-growing clusters of magenta berries along the stems. The berries keep until early November and look stunning in full bloom. This shrub can grow as high as 2.5 metres, although it’ll take 5-10 years to get there.
Campanula poscharskyana is a spreading perennial with light violet-blue flowers. It blooms in summer and lasts through to October. It can grow to a spread depth of half a metre so leave lots of room. It’ll thrive grounded but is also perfectly suitable as a bedding plant. You can also grow it in hanging baskets.
Heather is a classic wild evergreen shrub. It blooms in summer and autumn with pink, purple or white, urn-shaped flowers. It’s the perfect shrub for growing in natural drifts and thrives in a moist soil. Heather’s perfect for planting among foliage and trees, or in-between your more vibrant autumn flowers.
Snowdrops are a classic winter flower. I recommend the Galanthus elwesii species, which has a sweet scent, grows to about 25cm high and is hardier than the G. nivalis. The white flowers have a pointed shape and face downward. Snowdrops grow well close to foliage and last through to early autumn. They flower again in winter.
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