Autumn is traditionally the time of year to plan and plant in the garden. Whether you are planning to re-design your garden, create new borders or divide existing plants in over-crowded flower beds, now is the time to do it!
In autumn the soil is still warm, and rainfall reliable which makes the perfect recipe for making changes to existing planting or adding perennials, hedges, trees, shrubs and bulbs, giving them time to establish their roots before the worst of the winter weather.
During the year, it is a good idea to make notes and take photographs of your borders to see which areas need to be improved. Doing this will make it easier in the autumn to make decisions about plants or shrubs which need to be relocated or replaced with something different.
Divide your garden borders up into months January/February, March/April and so on, and then into areas, front, middle and back of the border. Make notes so you can see clearly over the course of the year where an injection of colour, height or interest was needed.
Ensure that your borders do not solely rely on colour and contrast. Remember to use form and texture, so that when blooms fade, foliage remains looking good and providing interest.
Think of the flowers in your border in three main groups: Spires, plants like foxgloves, delphiniums and larkspur. Daisies, plants like echinacea, helenium and rudbeckia and finally, Umbellifers like achillea and sedums. If you want you could even add a fourth, flowers that are spherical in shape, like alliums and echinops, and by doing this, you will ensure your border has a continuous supply of showstoppers.
Evergreen shrubs form the backbone of the garden and are key to keeping the garden looking good throughout the year, and now is perfect time to plant them.
Even in the smallest of gardens you can incorporate small dome shaped evergreens like Ilex crenata, Hebe rakaiensis or Pittosporum tobira dotted through the borders, complementing the perennials.
If you feel that height is missing in your borders, then consider adding a tree. Multi-stem trees are shrubbier in their appearance than a single stem tree, and as they mature, they will cast interesting shadows over your border. Amelanchier lamarckii is a great choice with its white early summer blossom and good autumn colour.
If space is tight, then the upright habit of Malus ‘Adirondack’ may be the one for you? This crab apple has white blossom in spring flowed by small edible red fruit in autumn. Or how about a Cornus Kousa ‘Miss Satomi? This small tree is covered in pink-bracted flowers in early summer and has fabulous golden-orange leaf colour in autumn.
Just remember to read the label carefully to check on the final height and spread of the tree you choose to ensure it will have space to thrive.
Until next time