We went back to my mum and dad’s a couple of weekend’s ago.
It was my friend’s 40th birthday and we left the boys with my parents overnight and went up to the Wirral; footloose and fancy free.
The next day we were not *quite* as chipper.
Mr D had the hangover from hell and I had to drive the two hours back from the Wirral to my parents; then take over parenting duties once we arrived.
Thankfully it was a beautiful day. We were having unseasonably warm weather and, whilst my party-loving husband slept his headache away, the boys and I spent most of the afternoon in the garden.
I always think this time of year is amazing; nature puts on the most incredible show. There was so much colour in my mum and dad’s garden.
Not the bright, brash shades of summer but richer, more jewel-like colours; hot pinks and berry-tones.
Deep purples, reds and orange.
And a million shades of green; everything from the silvery-grey of the eucalyptus to acid chartreuse of the Callicarpa bush.
There were so many lovely plants. Some I recognised but others I had to ask my mum.
Here’s my three very favourite plants for adding autumn colour in the garden.
I used to call these ‘ballerina flowers’ when I was little.
I loved the little ‘ladies’ in their pretty dresses; swaying in the branches.
Fuchsias flower more or less continuously from summer to autumn; plus you can get winter flowering varieties too.
They come in a myriad of colours — from the palest pink to deep purple.
When I was younger, I was desperate for a blue Hydrangea like the one in my grandad’s garden.
His bore the most beautiful sky blue flowers. But every time we took cuttings, they’d flower pink.
Apparently this is a common quirk of some species of hydrangea, though not true of all.
It’s apparently due to the PH value of the soil in your garden.
According to the RHS: ‘Those with blue or pink flowers tend to be blue in acid soil conditions (high available aluminium levels), mauve in acid to neutral soil conditions, and pink in alkaline conditions.’
But soil alkalinity aside, whatever colour you end up with, Hydrangeas give all year round colour.
Even when the flower heads have died, their faded beauty is still lovely. And adds colour and texture.
Callicarpa Bodinieri Profusion
One of my very favourite things.
This is an absolute gem. Beautiful all year round but it really comes into it’s own in the autumn and winter.
In summer it has fresh green foliage and gorgeous flowers; a frothy mauve-pink with pale lemon stamen. The flowers are often hidden as the leaves are quite large in comparison.
But in the autumn, the leaves turn to acid yellow edged with magenta, and the flowers are replaced with the most glorious berries.
Vivid purple — so bright they almost don’t look real.
Flora and Fauna
Mum and dad’s garden was so full of colour and texture.
There was something to look at in every corner. Berries, blooms and wildlife enjoying the spoils of the season.
The Pyracantha — or Firethorn — was a haven for birds, dining on the berries. And in the corner of the garden, in a tiny pond, were two little frogs.
Autumn has never really figured very highly in my estimation. I have always seen it as a precursor to winter; my least favourite month.
Summer used to be my favourite when I was younger — I loved the heat and long, light days. But as I’ve got older I prefer spring. All that newness. Verdant after the greyness of winter; with the anticipation of the summer, unfolding in front of us.
But it struck me, as I took pictures that weekend, that I’d written about our own garden at almost exactly the same time last year.
I never seem to pay any attention the rest of the year, so the fact I’d taken photographs almost a year to the day later did strike me as a little coincidental.
But maybe it’s not coincidence.
With so much autumn colour in the garden, how can I turn a blind eye to such beauty?
All the plants putting on their last performance before winter takes a hold.
The final encore.
Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.