Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Autumn Glory; Far from Being Drab and Dull, Autumn Should Be a Season of Splendour, Says Hannah Stephenson

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Autumn Glory; Far from Being Drab and Dull, Autumn Should Be a Season of Splendour, Says Hannah Stephenson

Article excerpt

AUTUMN splendour is always the grand finale of the growing season, as leaves turn vibrant shades of yellow, orange and deep red, while berries provide further interest - and not just for the birds.

So, if you are now looking out on a bare garden with little colour, think about the ornamentals you could plant to add some pizzazz to the scene and contrast well with each other.

Autumn colour shows up best with a solid, dark background such as conifers and evergreen shrubs, so bear this in mind when planning.

Trees should be used carefully so that their effect is a highlight rather than just a small part of a busy planting scheme. Green is still the most important colour in the garden and should be the most prevalent, so don't overdo it with bright-leafed plants or the effect will not be restful.

The ornamental cherry (Prunus sargentii) is a wonderful specimen whose young leaves are red, turning to dark green. In early autumn they become brilliant orange-red and finally a deep red. The leaves don't drop at the first hint of frost.

The Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) grows to eight metres. Its leaves turn to a patchwork of orange, red and purple-red in autumn, although it needs acid soil for good colour. Combine trees and shrubs of different hues.

The rich, deep reds of Japanese maples such as Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' contrast beautifully with the yellowing leaves of silver birch, while Chinese lanterns (Physalis alkekengi) provide additional warmth with their orange, lantern-shaped fruits.

Plant perennials such as bearded irises at the front of the display for structural foliage from spring to autumn, and earlier flower colour.

If you don't have room to add more plants, select a Japanese maple in a pot for warm autumn colour. …

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