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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Mespilus germanica

common medlar I cannot resist the compulsion to make jams and jellies when various fruits present themselves throughout the year, and without a shadow of a doubt, if I had to choose just one of them, then the medlar it would have to be. This is the jelly that my family and friends love above all others; rich and full of flavour, it goes with just about everything. (Nigel Slater’s recipe is a good one…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Fuchsia ‘Whiteknights Pearl’ AGM

Last week it felt as if we had been plunged straight into winter, but today is more like a normal October day with the promise of some warm and sunny days ahead, and as I venture out, I am reassured that the garden still has plenty to offer. Since mid-summer, when ‘Whiteknights Pearl’ started into flower, I have been increasingly taken with this beautiful, award-winning fuchsia, and it really comes into its own in the autumn – partly through lack…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Helianthus ‘Carine’

Sunflower ‘Carine’ There are some gardeners who try to avoid yellow, and I will admit that there are many less than subtle shades; but it’s almost foolhardy to try and manage without any in September, so when it comes to Helianthus, take a bit of time, and choose carefully  from the many different cultivars that exist. Helianthus ‘Carine’ is very like H ‘Lemon Queen’, but more refined; it is slightly shorter, has the palest yellow flowers, and noticeably dark…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Stipa gigantea AGM

Golden Oats Sourcing and buying Stipa gigantea is not a problem, for this magnificent grass is a tried and tested old favourite but do please take a bit of time to position it. This is not the occasion to walk round the garden, pot in hand, desperately looking for a gap. To enjoy it at its best, bear in mind that it needs sun…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Chrysanthemum pacifica (or Ajania pacifica)

Silver and gold chrysanthemum It’s an irony that just when your summer pots are looking their very best – in other words now – along comes the first frost and that’s the end of their fine display; either that or you really need the pots to plant your spring bulbs. However, my plant today turns…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Miscanthus sinensis ‘China’ AGM – eulalia ‘China’

There are so many beautiful grasses to choose from and we can’t grow them all; but we can visit gardens and specialist nurseries all over the UK, talk to the growers, look long and hard at what’s on offer and then decide which is the best for us There are around 150 named cultivars of Miscanthus sinensis so it…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Rudbeckia triloba AGM – brown-eyed Susan

‘Nothing flimsy about them’ – so wrote Christopher Lloyd about rudbeckias. Of course, he hit the nail right on the head, and it reminded me that it is this very dense quality that I often find a little overpowering in the genus. So, a couple of years ago I was delighted to be introduced to R triloba with its open habit and well-spaced wiry stems; in this respect it’s rather…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Indigofera amblyantha – pink-flowered indigo

When it comes to late summer and autumn flowering shrubs, there are not so very many to choose from, and the pink-flowered indigo is less often seen than it deserves; but this delicate shrub has great charm and I really look forward to its quiet but effective contribution to our garden at this time of the year. I. amblyantha is native to south central China and is noted for its long flowering…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Darmera peltata AGM – Umbrella plant

Now, I realise the photograph of my chosen plant this week may not be everyone’s idea of a horticultural gem, but with each year that passes I become more fascinated with the seasonal change that is autumn. There is an allure beyond the beauty of colour; gentle decay can also be a fascinating, eye catching…

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Growbag Blog Great Plants this Month Autumn

Serratula tinctoria var. seoanei

It is often said of plants: ‘should be more widely used’, or ‘not often seen in gardens’, and I am pretty sure I know why you could say that of my choice today. It is at its peak in October, and often into November, so it’s not going to make many sales in nurseries and even…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Calamagrostis brachytricha AGM – Korean feather reed grass

This year, despite having had our first frost a couple of weeks ago, October is brimming with subtle colour; in the early morning the plants are lightly shrouded in dew, often covered in cobwebs, and the grasses stand effortlessly among them all, unifying the picture. Although they have been on the gardening scene for a…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Erigeron karvinskianus AGM – Mexican fleabane

Everyone loves a daisy, but for me, this is the sweetest of them all. This has been such a wet week for most of us, and a few of the taller daisies in our garden (leucanthemum, rudbeckia, asters etc) are looking a little bedraggled, whereas the Mexican fleabane always looks cheerful! Apologies to those who…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Succisa pratensis – Devil’s Bit Scabious

Wikipedia’s answer to the question ‘What is a wildflower?’, is as follows: ‘A wildflower is a flower that grows in the wild, meaning it was not intentionally seeded or planted’. So, by that definition, mine are not wild as I grew some from seed and planted them in our garden. However, they are native to…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Polypoduim cambricum ‘Richard Kayse’ AGM

Around about the time that Vermeer was finishing his painting ‘The Astronomer’, and in the year that Spain recognised Portugal as an independent nation, a man named Richard Kayse from Bristol discovered this beautiful fern growing on limestone cliffs near Cardiff.  Two centuries later it had disappeared from cultivation,and it was not until another 200 years had passed,in 1980,that fern expert Martin Rickard set…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Chrysanthemum ‘Innocence’ AGM

For years I fought against growing chrysanthemums, probably influenced by their association with funerals, and with those garish bunches wrapped in coloured cellophane on garage forecourts; but recently and most particularly after growing ‘Innocence’ I have come to appreciate their contribution to our garden at what can be rather a sombre time of year. Who could…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Diascia personata

For me it is the ultimate cottage garden plant – the thing is, that at any time from late spring until the end of October, I could have chosen the lovely Diascia personata for this slot. Admittedly it can get overlooked in the summer as there is so much competition, but this week it looks…

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Autumn

Plectranthus argentatus AGM

Plectranthus are members of the Lamiaceae or mint family, and they’re my latest craze. All species are tender and are really valuable subjects for container growing, not only for the highly ornamental value of their foliage, but also because many are happiest grown in part shade and some in almost full shade. Even P. argentatus, with…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Sanguisorba ‘Pink Brushes’

Like an eccentric but glamorous great aunt, my plant this week is a wonderful example of how to age gracefully! Going grey yes, but losing any other attributes, no! A bit like going to a big family party, I walk into the garden and there she is, you can’t miss her – tall, willowy and…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Echeveria rosea

Almost all echeveria will succumb to winter wet and cold in the UK, but not this one … not unless we have a particularly extreme season. It is easily the most able to cope with whatever weather is thrown at it. So I was very excited to come across this stunning succulent (bought from Bob…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Malus hupehensis AGM

I have a confession. The tree in the photo above is not actually in our garden. About 25 years ago, our neighbour, who grew it from seed, planted it on the verge in our lane, so I watch its progress through the seasons from the kitchen window. This tree gives us pleasure on so many…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’

It all depends on the sun, the wind, the rain, and the frost … and on the order in which they come and go throughout the year. Therefore each autumn brings subtly different colour schemes and it is why some plants excel one year where before they were more muted. Today it’s the turn of…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Ageratina ligustrina

This unusual, autumn flowering shrub used to be known as Eupatorium ligustrinum and for once I am happy to see a plant renamed. Eupatorium are known to be a faintly thuggish lot and the idea of one with privet type leaves was not appealing. However Ageratina ligustrina is neither thuggish, nor does it bear anything…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Symphyotrichum ericoides ‘Deep Danziger’ and other asters

There are certain genera that simply must be seen in flower before you buy them, and asters (or symphyotrichum as many of them have now become) are on that list. It is oh-so-easy to be swayed by glowing descriptions on labels or in catalogues, only to find that the colour and/or height weren’t quite what you were expecting, or…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Vitis vinifera ‘Brant’

I have come to love autumn more as I get older; and for a gardener, extending the season through October and into November, it helps to reduce that dreaded void until January when the first snowdrops, hellebore flowers and other excitements emerge. Although it is essentially a grape vine, the primary point of growing Vitis…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Gomphostigma virgatum

At first glance, this elegant, upright, small shrub looks as if it would revel in a dry sunny spot, much where you would expect to grow lavender and rosemary. You would imagine that its silver grey leaves and tiny white flowers would sit happily in a typical Mediterranean habitat. Well, it didn’t take long to…

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Autumn

Althaea cannabina

I’m all for transparency, and not just in the late summer or early autumn border!Over the last few weeks I have been looking long and hard at such plantings and have come to the conclusion that relentless clumps of Rudbeckia, Helenium, Eupatorium, Persicaria, Ligularia etc, do not always fit with the average garden plot. Okay…

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Autumn

Salvia leucantha

  Salvia  leucantha known as Mexican bush sage, is a sub-shrub reaching to about a metre in height. I grow mine in my autumn border but it’s also a really good choice for a container because long before the flowers appear, indeed showing no hint of what will come in October, the foliage alone, with…

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Autumn

Dahlia merckii

Now I am not a big fan of dahlias, for me the flowers are too brash and the growth rather ungainly: but here I’ll make an exception. This plant is a species, (and I hope you were paying attention to Laura’s piece and video on plant nomenclature!) so comes true from seed and is a…

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Autumn

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Herbstzauber’

Now I bet you don’t know what a forb is, and nor did I until I sat down to write this piece, and it could be a good one if you play scrabble. It is a herbaceous flowering plant other than a grass. My chosen plant is a pennisetum, and I was reading a small…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Vitex agnus-castus var. latifolia

I must start by mentioning the garden where I first saw this month’s plant. A few years ago I took my mother on a little garden-visiting jaunt to South Wales and we came across this gem of a garden nestling in a beautiful and secluded valley with breathtaking views. Tucked into the hillside, it was filled with…