Setting the scene for the autumn garden


This weekend felt like summer again, it was sunny and warm and as well as starting my big autumn garden clean up I also enjoyed spending time outside relaxing, tending to the last of the harvest and noticing the changing shapes and shades of autumn.

At this time of year some plants really come into their own and some just seem to battle on regardless. The sky is grey today so it’s these stars of autumn that provide the warmth and colour and help me to remember the good weekend I’ve had rather than focusing on any impeding gloom of winter.

I’m hoping for a sunny October, the reality might not be so good but I still enjoy the plants that continue to thrive despite the changes in the weather.


The echinops are going to seed now and I’ve stopped dead heading them but the ones still battling on attract the bees and it’s lovely to see them buzzing around and even sleeping on the flowers.



Also battling on are my absolute summer favourites – the sweet peas. I’m still cutting them and they continue to come back. Their stems are a little unruly but I love that!


The persicaria provides great ground cover and colour from spring. It looks as good now as the day it came into bloom. The only problem I have are the weeds that grow amongst it, but hey, there’s always going to be weeds and it’s quite therapeutic getting down to ground level and weeding them out. Although, I did save that for another day ;)


This rudbeckia is a real suprise. We salvaged some last year that were meant to be the annual rudbeckia cappuccino, so when this started to grow in the summer we were a little confused! It’s either a different variety, a perennial that snuck in somehow or it’s very confused too! Either way I love it and despite all my struggles with rudbeckias in the past, this one (although looking somewhat tatty now) is still a real star.


I just love houseleeks and a simple pot provides a lot of interest and a fresh green colour to the garden.


Crocosmia is often regarded as ‘common’ but I love the vibrant colour and the way that the flowers really stand out against the foliage at this time of year.


What fantastic plants sedums are, they attract wildlife and definitely come into their own in autumn. The plant above is providing good cover and colour in my long border.

The pot below was started as a small cutting just two months ago and its growth rate has been amazing.



Hostas provide amazing foliage but as you can see, it’s a shame when they get eaten. They will die down completely over winter but for now, despite being chomped on, they’re battling on!

I’ve got 4 hostas and I confess I’ve neglected all of them. I need to consider this for next year. I think they look great in huge pots and I might relocate them to help protect them from damage next year. I could also divide some of the hostas now, maybe leaving a bit in the borders and moving some on into pots. I’m still pondering!


A few posts back I mentioned my little evergreen cuphea, above is cuphea cyanea a totally different looking plant altogether. My cousin bought me this when we visited Sissinghurst in June and it’s been amazing, growing and growing and still flowering. Apparently it’s only half hardy though so you can be sure I’ll be looking after it in the greenhouse over winter. Its acidic summer colours brighten any grey day and on sunny days it really shines.


Another plant my cousin bought me from Sissinghurst is this rhodochiton or purple bell vine. Another half hardy perennial that I’ll be taking great caution with over winter. It’s still flowering intensely now and along with the cuphea cyanea it’s definitely a special kind of plant.



One of my lavender varieties is still flowering, you can see it’s coming near to the end but this one lasts so much longer than the others. It still gets covered in bees and has the most beautiful colour and fragrance. I just wish I knew which variety it was.


At the front of my house, the rose and the window boxes of pelargoniums are still flowering profusely and looking very healthy. So I have time to plan my container garden collection for the winter.


In preparation for winter I’ve stuck with the pink and purple themes that I picked up in Provence and I’m thinking about lots of heucheras and heathers. I’m going to go for foliage this winter as I think there’s a lot to be said for interesting leaf shapes, shades and textures. Lots more shopping to be done!


How’s your garden looking and are you enjoying the changing shapes and shades of the autumn plants? Will you be making any changes in your garden for the rest of autumn and winter?


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28 Responses to “Setting the scene for the autumn garden”

  1. Linda October 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    The mild and mellow weather has turned to damp and murky and since we’ve been away for a day or two we notice the seasonal changes in the garden more. Lavender continues to give pleasure and I must start to gather the drier seed heads. The white geraniums in a blue pot look good. There are still some roses in bloom and the orange hues of the nasturtiums add some colour. But the slugs are creating havoc on many of the tender leaves. What a shame about your hostas!

    • Anna B October 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      Hi Linda! I know and I feel so guilty about the poor hostas! I have another three big plants – all munched to bits!!!! What a shame indeed. I know they’ll come back next year though and I can take measures to stop the snails coming back then too! I am seriously thinking about just putting them in huge pots. That’s twice I’ve been reminded about nasturtiums today and twice I’ve realised that mine haven’t come back this year? I remember helping them to scatter all the cool seeds too? How strange? Glad to hear you still have some colour from late summer too. It does help on these murky days! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  2. home, garden, life October 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    Suggestion on the hostas…cut off all foliage now and any dead debris around them (do not compost dead leaves). This is slug damage, so next season turn small garden pots over near hostas and check pots every AM and you will find slugs napping there…then take slugs to an “eternity pool” of soapy water in a small bucket. Keep up the lovely posts! Diane

    • Anna B October 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Haha! The “eternity pool” almost sounds like a nice place for the slugs! Nifty idea for catching them sleeping under little pots! I can tell you’ve got your slugs far more under control than I have. I do feel terribly guilty about my hostas! Will definitely try harder to make sure that I care for them better next year. Thanks so much for the tips and your comment :)

  3. Cathy October 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Your cuphea cyanea looks very interesting, a little bit like a salvia flower. Hope it gets through the winter. I aslo like Crocosmia and don’t understand why some gardeners look down on it, but I have never had any luck growing it here. I’ll try again next year! My hostas look just like yours Anna! The snails usually leave them alone until August/September though, so they at least look pretty when in flower. ;-) Enjoy your autumn gardening!

    • Anna B October 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      Hi Cathy! Ah I feel happier knowing that I’m not alone with my munched hostas! They’ve eaten all my penstemons too, such a nuisance! It seems to happen so quickly without me noticing. I feel like an irresponsible plant owner but at least the creatures aren’t going hungry – oh no I’m not meant to be thinking like that am I?! Thank you so much for your comment :)

  4. Christina October 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    You do have some very nice memories of your visit to Sissinghurst, the best possible kind. I hope you manage to get them throught the winter, will you save seed too?

    • Anna B October 2, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      Hi Christina! I loved Sissinghurst, it really exceeded all my expectations and the two plants my cousin bought me are a wonderful reminder. I’d not thought about saving seed from them but what a great idea, then if anything happens I can start all over again! :) Thanks so much for dropping by!

  5. Cathy October 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    Hi Anna – though you had fallen asleep on your allotment…! You have some lovely pumpkins, haven’t you, and what a lovely grouping of echinops too. AND those sweet peas! Great picture to finish with.

    • Anna B October 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

      Haha!! I’ve had a little kip at my allotment on many an occasion! It’s true I have been a bit preoccupied these last couple of weeks. I planted tons of pumpkins this year because last year I had none! Think I went a bit over the top though so I’ll be making pumpkin pie and other pumpkin recipes soon and probably using some as ornaments! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  6. rusty duck October 2, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    I’ve almost given up on hostas, because of the slugs. Sedums are really coming into their own now aren’t they, and on a sunny day (definitely not today!) they are covered in bees and butterflies. I really need the rain to stop because there’s loads more to do, I still want to move some perennials around if I get the chance. And then of course the weeds just love the rain..

    • Anna B October 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

      Yes its wonderful to see all the bees on the sedums, I wish that local authorities would take more notice of plants that still attract wildlife at this time of year and get planting more of them in parks. Autumn is really quite a busy time in the garden isn’t it, lots to do! I have some real disaster zones that need a lot of attention – lots of weeds! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  7. nataliescarberry October 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    Looks like there is a fair measure of glory left in your garden. Enjoy. Blessings, Natalie

    • Anna B October 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

      Hi Natalie! Yes there sure is and if I had asters as well then my garden would last even longer! I’ve started planting up heathers and violas now too to last me over the winter. There really are plants available for every season and as mentioned even some great foliage that I’m looking forward to experimenting with too. Hope you’re well and thanks for dropping by :)

      • nataliescarberry October 2, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

        Well, then, I can look forward to some lovely pictures even through the winter. It’s always nice to drop by your site and see what’s happening in your garden. Blessings, Natalie :)

        • Anna B October 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

          Ah that’s so kind :) Thanks Natalie!

  8. Nadezda October 2, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    Anna, glad you have sunny weather! I love your pumpkins and sedums. They both symbolize the beginning of fall.

    • Anna B October 2, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      Hello Nadezda! Yes I have a lot of pumpkins this year! I do love them though so happy to have more than I need than none at all like last year! Sedums are amazing plants for wildlife and colour, I love them! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  9. Charlie@Seattle Trekker October 3, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    I love the rich joyful colors in your photos. They do make the transition from summer to fall a little bit easier.

    • Anna B October 3, 2013 at 7:15 am #

      Thanks Charlie! The autumn and winter garden can still be colourful and interesting even on the grim days!!!

  10. rogerbrook October 3, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    My hostas look like yours Anna.
    I think October and early November can be very colourful times in the garden and even many herbaceous perennials can look good eg schizostylis and many michelmas daisies.
    Your experience with Rudbeckia is interesting. Many are perennial but are difficult to overwinter outside in cold wet soil. You will do well to overwinter your rhodochiton. I am lucky our local nursery at Reighton (near Bridlington) sell them as young seed raised plants at 45pence and I plant new ones every year!

    • Anna B October 3, 2013 at 9:07 am #

      Hi Roger! Thanks for letting me know about your hostas! I feel a lot less guilty now!! I love michaelmas daisies too, asters are just amazing how they come into bloom so profusely at this time of year. Rather worried about the rhodochiton now! I’ll have to get myself a back up plan like yours! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  11. Janet/Plantaliscious October 3, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    What a glorious celebration of the late flowering plants setting your garden alight. Your Sissinghurst plants are beautiful, well worth protecting over winter. I wish you knew what that lavender was too, it is such a beautiful colour. I haven’t got any in this garden yet, and was going to go for a deep blue, but that photo has me wondering. As for hostas, surely pretty much everybodies’ hostas look that that at this point in the year, unless grown in pots or protected by pellets? That rudbekia looks very much like my Rudbekia ‘Rustic Dwarf Mix’ plants, beautiful annuals – at least, I assume they will still behave like annuals, even here. I found that they worked really well in my previous garden which had heavy clay soil and that they even coped with a fair amount of shade. Might be worth giving them a go next year if you like rusty oranges and browns, if I can grow them anybody can!

    • Anna B October 4, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      Hi Janet, I dead headed/pruned back my other lavender plant (it’s right next to the lighter one) around 2-3 weeks ago now so there’s definitely some significant differences between varieties. I remember this from last year too as I’m always looking for bumblebees and I thought that if only our local park planted that variety then . I’ll try and find out, I’d love to know what it is. I and stumped as to how the rudbeckia has got there, it has grown without me planting it, but it is where we planted some of the salvaged ones from last year, which is why I wondered if a perennial had got into the mix somehow?!I do really like it though and considering it turned up all by itself it must like my garden and I would happily grow some more! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  12. gardeninacity October 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Wow, your lavender looks incredible. I’m very interested in Cuphea, I have Cuphea ignea which I love but I can only grow as an annual.

    • Anna B October 3, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

      I’ll let you know how it gets on. It’s supposed to be perennial but I’m not sure it will actually last. Fingers crossed! Thanks for your comment Jason :)

  13. Jo October 4, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Such a lovely collection of plants you have, and they’re still giving you so much colour at this time of year, but oh dear, your poor hosta. I grow mine in pots and they don’t do too badly for slug damage. My crocosmia is flowering for the first time this year, even though I’ve had the plant for a good few years. I love the rudbeckia, such a gorgeous colour.

    • Anna B October 4, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Hi Jo! Although I feel a bit better that I’m not alone with my hostas I think I will put them in pots. It will make it easier for me to care for them I think. Your comment is definitely making me think that’s the way to go :) Thanks so much for dropping by!


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