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.
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?