Revel in rich autumn colour

As the days start to shorten and the light becomes softer, so the colours of the garden turn from summer’s pretty pastels to the rich tones of autumn.

Deep claret, orange, scarlet and burnished gold, are the standout shades that will stop your garden fading with the passing of summer.

Even the crops of autumn are vibrantly coloured – think pumpkins, chillies and peppers.

How to add some autumn colour

Dahlias are among the best flowers for adding that end of season glow. The range of shapes and sizes is enormous from neat pompom to spikey cactus and blousy dinnerplate blooms.

When it comes to colour, choose from copper tones, velvety purples or sultry reds.

Now is the time to order tubers for next year’s display. Plant them in spring in pots of good, peat-free compost and keep sheltered until the last of the frosts.

Then, either plant them out in your borders, or grow them in containers for a moveable display.

Asters, commonly known as Michaelmas daisies, are another autumn star. They are at their peak in September and October with daisy-like flowers in beautiful pinks and purples.

Chrysanthemums will also add some zing to the end of the season. Flowering after many other plants have finished, they last for ages in a vase and there’s a wide range of colours available.

Naturally, autumn wouldn’t be complete without a multi-coloured show of leaves and there are several trees that will give you a good display.

Acers are a favourite choice with seasonal colours of orange, yellow or scarlet. Many have beautiful dissected foliage as well.

Other trees with lovely autumn tints are the sumachs (Rhys typhina), amelanchier and Parrotia persica. If you’ve got the space, something more unusual is Ginkgo biloba, which turns brilliant yellow in autumn.

Don’t overlook shrubs either. Callicarpa bodinieri has stunning purple berries and many cornus put on a lovely show before the leaves drop to leave brightly coloured stems.

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