Gardening Magazine

Autumn Colour

By Notcuttsuk @notcuttsuk

Autumn colourThe garden is still full of color with plenty more to come before the bare bones of trees and shrubs are exposed after the leaves have fallen. The evergreens will come into their own through the winter providing a handsome back drop for early Daffodils and Snowdrops as they appear to remind me that spring is never too far away. I am really looking forward to seeing the double Snowdrops that I planted through the green and white borders last spring! For now, I am enjoying the flowers on our Killarney Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) which is the best it has ever been and a magnet for bees. The Fatsia japonica with its huge leathery leaves is beginning to put out big spikes of flower buds that will provide interest through November. The flowers are a bit like those of Ivy – knobbly greenish white clusters that add a tropical air to the border in the early winter months. Hard as nails, our plant has grown enormously this summer and will need a serious prune next spring once the worst of the winter weather has gone. I may take the stems down to a few inches from the ground and let it shoot from the base – drastic but necessary if the plant is not to outgrow its space! The variegated Holly that we can see from the kitchen and dining room windows is a delight at any time but the fresh green and white leaves on the tightly clipped shrub are especially welcome now and as decoration in the house at Christmastime.

To me, autumn color is a like a slowly changing sunset. Each day I look at the leaves and think they cannot get any more intense until the next day when they are even deeper. The Parottia (Persian Ironwood) is changing to beautiful plum and scarlet shades and the vine continues to change slowly to orange and red with a few deep pink leaves as well. The upright Berberis ‘Helmond’s Pillar’ is still a column of deep purple leaves that will soon change to wine red before falling to leave the bare twiggy branches until deep red leaf buds break next spring. The Dog Wood leaves have yet to change color to purple before they fall but I can already see the vivid red stems that are such a feature through the winter months. The plants in the front garden will change to yellow before the leaves fall and reveal upright olive green branches contrasting with the purple Phormium behind for winter color.

The garden is in a state of suspended animation now. Apart from raking leaves from lawns and paths, it’s too early to begin the autumn tidy up and protect plants from the worst of the winter weather. For now I am removing any winter weeds and cutting back perennials to make gaps for more Tulips, which are best planted from now until the end of November. Hopefully, the autumn gales will not strip the leaves from trees and shrubs prematurely and ruin what promises to be a spectacular show of autumn colour!

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