Tired? Listless? A little over the hill?
No, not you, but your borders. Maybe they need an injection of early-autumn colour and if they do there is no shortage of inspiration to be found in your local nursery or garden centre.
Michaelmas daisies used to be available only as lanky plants that were martyrs to mildew and that had flowers of a dreary blue-grey. But the shorter, more modern New England asters are much more robust and brighter in colour.
Seek them out and plant them half way back in the border where they will light up your autumn days. A taller variety is ‘Alma Potschke’, which grows to around 4ft and has flowers of the most vivid raspberry pink.
Real stars in my garden at the moment are the sedums. Commonly known as ‘ice plants’ they have succulent leaves and flat flowerheads of white, pale or dusky pink, which are a magnet for bees and butterflies. These have been in short supply for the past few years and will really appreciate pre-winter supplies of the nectar that the flowers afford.
These plants are real stalwarts of the autumn border, whether you go for the old favourite Sedum spectabile or newer varieties such as ‘Matrona’, which will eventually make a clump of 18in to 2ft high and three feet across. Give it one of those circular wire peony supports early in the year – in April – and it will stand up right through into November.
Then there are the crocosmias, or montbretia as we used to call them. These plants, with their sword-like leaves, have arching wands of flowers that may be anything from palest yellow through orange to fiery red and they last from August to October if you pick the right varieties. ‘George Davidson’ is one of my favourites, with bright yellow flowers that simply light up a border.
And if you have a border in shade, or patches of bare earth between shrubs, the hardy autumn-flowering Cyclamen hederifolium is just the plant for you.
Buy it as growing corms in pots now and plant it while it is in flower to transform a dull patch of ground. Plant the cyclamen 9in apart, taking care not to bury the corms too deeply, and they will burst into flower year after year.
So, you see, autumn does not have to be as dull as you might think. It can be a cheery time of year if you plant the right things.
Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column today and Tip Of The Day every weekday in the Daily Express. For more information on his range of gardening products visit alantitchmarsh.com.
Published at Fri, 29 Sep 2017 23:01:00 +0000