In the Garden | Set your garden alight with autumn colour

Autumn delights

I say this every year: of all the seasons, autumn is without a doubt my favourite.

It's a time of gathering; all the pumpkins are picked and stacked, our garlic and onions are hanging out to dry and saucepans full of tomatoes are slow-cooking on the stove.

Migratory birds are madly getting fat on seeds and berries as our landscape is in decrescendo.

The colouring of leaves always seems fascinating to me as plants shut down for winter.

The same plant can produce different coloured leaves from year to year, creating a different landscape in your own garden.

BRIGHTEN UP: Flame red, sunshine yellow or deep purple, the colours of autumn are a highlight of the gardener's year.

BRIGHTEN UP: Flame red, sunshine yellow or deep purple, the colours of autumn are a highlight of the gardener's year.

We are incredibly lucky in this part of the world because our seasons are so distinctly different.

One of the most-asked questions for new gardens and gardeners is "How can we bring colour to the garden?"

NO RAKES: A carpet of autumn leaves on your lawn brings another dimension to the landscape.

NO RAKES: A carpet of autumn leaves on your lawn brings another dimension to the landscape.

My list of favourites

Fraxinus raywoodii - Claret Ash: this is my favourite large autumn tree, its not for every garden as it can get very big and has quite invasive roots. Having said that, it's great in a rural setting and makes beautiful driveway and streetscape trees. Dark green dense shade in summer and deep claret red in autumn.

Acer sp. - Maples: everyone wants one of these, there are heaps to choose from and a wide variety of sizes and shapes. You could find one to suit any spot and environment. Maples also come in a variety of leaf colours, really you can't go wrong. My picks include Acer Crimson Sentry, Acer Autumn Blaze and Acer palmatum.

Cercis 'Forest Pansy': without a doubt a show stopper in your garden. This tree can be a little tricky to get going in a windy spot but well worth the effort. This tree has dark coloured bark, in spring it is covered in lipstick pink flowers, in summer this tree has red and green foliage followed in autumn by yellow, pink and orange foliage. Stunning.

Liquidambar styraciflua: a tall fast growing tree, prefers protection from harsh wind. Produces the most impressive autumn foliage

Pyrus sp. Manchurian pear varieties: this tree has it all. Low maintenance, wind tolerant and really just no nonsense. It holds its autumn leaves for longer than most other trees. Best varieties include 'Aristocrat', 'Chanticleer' and 'Capital'.

Malus sp. - crabapple: you cannot go wrong with these trees, there are lots of different kinds to choose from. Spring flowers and autumn foliage and some produce crabapples; there is one for every garden.

Prunus mume - Flowering cherry: this is one variety of a huge cultivar, so again you have many to choose from. Often found in nurseries in a weeping or pendular form. Horticulturists from around the world flock to Japan to witness the flowering cherry trees. Equally stunning in autumn. Another tree that is not really happy in wind, so find a spot on the eastern side of your house.

Viburnum sp.: this is my favourite shrub genera. There are literally hundreds to choose from. The snowball bush (Viburnum opulus 'Sterile') probably been the most recognisable, great flowers and autumn foliage.

Vitis vinifera 'Purpurea' - ornamental grape: stunning climber, find a spot for this you will not be disappointed.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia creeper: bright red in autumn, this can fly below the radar all year then surprise you with its flame red as the season shuts down.

Comments