After all the wind and rain we’ve had of late some of our pots, containers, baskets and beds have become a bit tired and in need of an overhaul to bring some fresh colour and brightness to our gardens and patios. There seems to be the promise of some better weather with higher temperatures for the week ahead so plenty of opportunity to get out into the garden and revamp containers and beds with some wonderful, long lasting flowering & foliage plants that will last well into the end of Autumn
At this time of year there’s a great selection of long lasting plants that are really colourful and somewhat quirky. Amongst the most popular are Cyclamen, these are a hardy plant and are great in pots, containers, hanging baskets and in beds. They come in a range of colours - red, pink, burgundy, maroon and white being the shades most often seen and each plant produces a good amount of flowers over a long period and are a real welcome burst of colour and fragrance in Autumn & Winter. They like free draining conditions so if you are planting them in pots use a good quality compost and mix through some perlite to improve drainage and add in some slow release fertilizer to keep them fed through the Autumn and Winter. As the flowers fade, deadhead them right down to the base of the plant to avoid any rot or fungus and make sure they don’t get over watered. They can come back next year but I find it best to replace them with new plants.
Another popular plant that are used in Autumn and Winter planting, that are a real stand out in containers, are ornamental chillies or capsicums. These are excellent for a strong pop of colour in a container arrangement. There are a good few different types and colours of red, yellow, green and purple. They’re very easy to grow and will last till late Autumn or early Winter - up until a hard frost and look particularly well mixed with some Garden Girl Heathers trailing ivies and pansies or violas - that same mix can look great in a hanging basket for an Autumn arrangement or you can use them by themselves to fill a pot for a bold blast of colour that will definitely be eye catching and a talking point .
Another excellent addition for containers at this time of year are some of the silver foliage plants, the likes of Helichrysum, calocephalus, senecio and one of my own favorites Angels Wings, these silver leaved plants act as a great contrast and help show off some of the other colourful plants - great combined with the ornamental chilli plants and cyclamen. They take very little minding and are easy to grow either in containers or beds. The leaves on the Angel wings have an almost velvety feel and should hold the colour all year round unless there’s a severe, prolonged cold spell but worth growing each year if needed.
Other staples of Autumn bedding are Violas and Pansies which are easy to grow, last for ages and give a great show of colour. Plant them with some good compost and give them a liquid feed and with some regular deadheading they’ll last for months. Garden Mums or Chrysanthemums are another popular Autumn plant for long lasting colour with a huge range of colours and are another plant that benefits from some deadheading to prolong the flowering and encourage more flowers. Heuchera are a wonderful range of flowering plants known for their fantastic foliage colours - from deep burgundy colours to marmalade orange hues and again easy to grow and suited for containers and beds. So there’s lots of strong, long lasting colour that’s easy to grow and will look well all Autumn and into Winter - whether you are doing up containers or hanging baskets or doing up beds or refreshing the front of borders - lots of different combinations to choose from and with the hint of some good weather in the forecast some opportunity to get out to your garden and enjoy some planting and therapeutic gardening activity
A few jobs for the week ahead;
- You can plant Autumn Seed potatoes now for a harvesting in the Winter - perhaps new spuds for Christmas dinner
- Use netting or fleece to protect blackberries and autumn raspberries from birds
- Keep camellias and rhododendrons well watered through late summer while their flower buds are forming
- Deadhead roses to keep them flowering and looking tidy
- Cut back evergreen hedges like laurel and privet - make sure there’s no nesting birds present to avoid disturbing them
- Summer prune wisteria by shortening all long side shoots to about 8 inches