Monday, 17 December 2018

Handful of perennials that will cheer up autumn

THE skies may be gloomy and the days markedly shorter, but some herbaceous perennials fail to disappoint at this late

THE skies may be gloomy and the days markedly shorter, but some herbaceous perennials fail to disappoint at this late stage in the season.

Among my favourites are (from left) Echinacea purpurea, Verbena bonariensis, Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ and Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firedance’.

There is a myriad of echinacea to choose from, including ‘White Swan’ and a new introduction ‘Fragrant Angel’. If Verbena does appeal, but you would like a shorter-stemmed variety, try Verbena b. ‘Lollipop’. Anemones also have various forms and shades to tempt with ‘Queen Charlotte’ being a favourite double pink variety, whilst Persicarias have an even greater variety. Not only in colour, but also height. Persicaria ‘Darjeeling Red’ is not only evergreen, but the foliage turns a russet red in the autumn. Their flower spikes are only 25cm in height, so they will not collapse during heavy rainfall.

If it’s blues or deep magentas you are after, Asters will provide colour up until the first frost.

Whilst Sedums might be boring to some, they are a valuable addition to borders for late season interest.

A great late season shrub is Abelia grandiflora. It is semi-evergreen with clusters of fragrant, small, pink-flushed, trumpet-like white flowers on arching stems. The glossy foliage is also great for to use in flower arrangements. There is a deciduous variety on the market called Abelia schumanii ‘Bumblebee’, with gorgeous lilac-pink flowers.

Cotoneasters are all smothered in glossy red berries at this time of the year. They are not to be confused with Pyracantha. The latter has vicious thorns, so I would steer clear of them if you have small children.

If it’s autumn colours you are after in foliage, trees to consider are Liquidamber styraciflua Worplesdon (only suitable for medium and large gardens), Acer freemanii Autumn Blaze, Parrotia persica and an all-time winner for small gardens has to be Amelanchier lamarckii and Acer palmatum Osakazuki. The palmatum varieties of Acer need a sheltered position as the leaves are easily scorched.

* With an eye for detail, Louise Venter has a lifetime’s experience in horticulture, extensive plant knowledge and is a practising garden designer. Her sensitivity to the environment, style and age of each property and attentive consideration of her clients’ brief is evident in all her projects, both large and small. For more details call 07803 583687, email or visit

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