What to plant in autumn: keep the colour in your garden as the summer sun fades

What to plant in autumn
Every garden should enjoy the striking foliage of Japanese maples

As the days get shorter and the summer sun fades, our gardens needn’t lose their colour. Yes the perennials delivering vibrant, bright and bold colour may have died back, and you’ll have composted the trusty bedding plants that bring the garden to life through the summer months but your garden needn’t look dull in autumn and winter.

Colour in the colder months can be achieved in your garden with a mix of berries and fruit, grasses, leaf and stem colour as well as winter flowers. And with the ground still warm enough to plant, it’s the perfect time to add to your garden.

Plants with berries and fruit offer colour and interest, and you’ll enjoy the added benefit of visiting birds who’ll welcome the food supply as the weather turns. Favourites from the team here at Tong Garden Centre include skimmia for its bright red berries and glossy green leaves all year round, malus – more commonly known as crab apple – bearing fruit as well as good autumn foliage colour, and cotoneaster, a hardy plant that earns its keep with a profusion of long lasting berries.

As the beautiful leaves mark the change of season, those intense bursts of colour make such an impact in your autumn garden. We recommend berberis and eucalyptus and every garden should enjoy the striking foliage of Japanese maples (acers). Other winter favourites include leucothoe offering russet red leaves throughout winter and heucheras with amazing leaf colour in various hues of amber, bronze, green, gold, pink and purple.

Ornamental grasses can play a wonderful part in the autumn garden, adding movement as well as colour and texture. Make a statement with the blue-green shades of the Glauca festuca or the deep dark red of Carex red rooster. Although not strictly a grass, phormiums too add that structure and the attractive two-tone leaf of the Sundowner variety is a great addition to any garden.

Bark and stem colour may not be the most obvious way to add vibrancy but striking colour can be achieved with plants such as cornus (dogwood), rubus and salix (willow) and if you are lucky enough to have space for a birch tree, the stunning silvery tones are to be admired.

Of course, we can’t talk about winter colour without mentioning the fabulous flowers that colour the winter months. Pansies, violas and cyclamen will brighten beds and borders as well as pots and hanging baskets, evergreen viburnums are invaluable in winter with their pretty, compact flowers and of course the delicate beauty of hellebores – the Christmas rose – spreading a little joy and brightening up the darkest of winter days.

It really is nature’s natural time to plant, so add to your garden now to create seasonal interest, colour and texture. The team at Tong Garden Centre are available to help, advise and share their winter favourites with you.

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