Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Planning a Flowering Autumn Garden

Homelife have put together all the flowers you need for a beautiful garden during those Autumn months…

Dahlias flower from mid-summer through to autumn in all colours, so carefully choose the colours that harmonise with other autumn flowers. These are unique flowers with explosions of colour and shapes, repeat flowering, and are tough, dry-tolerant and love our hot summers. For a symphony of colour next autumn, select the notes and plant your garden in June/July. Dahlias grow from an underground tuber, which makes for prolific growth through spring and summer then flowers in autumn. Keep them well fed, mulched and watered for fabulous cut flowers. Give them strong support so they don’t collapse. A teepee of tomato stakes secured with a decorative top bracket makes a good-looking support frame.

These are plants that flower through summer and autumn then go dormant in winter when you should prune them back hard. When the soil warms in spring, these plants start to grow again and come back into flower in late summer. In autumn they are all flowering with feathery plume, giving a rich layer of texture to the garden planting.

Autumn Roses David Austin English roses have a cabbage-like appearance and the fragrance of old roses, plus the repeat-flowering characteristic of new roses. The peachy ‘Pat Austins’ are breathtaking and a real highlight. Roses can be planted in winter while they are dormant. Take time to prepare the planting hole in advance. Dig in some compost or well-rotted cow manure to improve soil and sprinkle water crystals and pelletised seaweed. Spread roots over a mound of soil in the base of your planting hole. Fill in with the improved soil and water with seaweed solution until all the air bubbles have stopped.

These tough perennials are so smothered with autumn flowers, you can hardly see a leaf. There are hundreds of varieties – all make good fillers for gardens, and flower for such a long time. Mexican sage (Salvia leucantha) is one of the best; it grows to one metre and is good for hot, dry and frosty gardens. Flowers last until the onset of winter, then you can prune them back hard. Plant them now, in a spot with full sun and good drainage.

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