Follow

Friday, 26 August 2016

Autumnal Colour

The year is flying at an exceptional rate and it is hard to believe that September is just around the corner. This is the time of year where we start to think of slowing down in the garden - not too much though!

The grass will become less like a demanding teenager, and the plants will require less of the speciality watering-can tipple. Therefore, we are able to focus on spending more time deciphering where all the little gaps are, and what to do with that empty and unkempt flower bed at the bottom of the garden.

There are many things I love about summer - the heat, the bold blooms perfectly set in hanging baskets and just the notion of being able to step outdoors without thinking about wearing several hats, coats, scarves and other woolly under and over garments.



However, there is something magical about this time of year as we smoothly make the transition from summer to autumn. I adore it when the leaves on the trees start to change colour to rich, dark and warming shades of orange, yellow, brown and red.

There is nothing quite like it - I would highly recommend that you visit an Arboretum during this time.  It was around October last year that I attended the famous Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucester.

It was a magnificent site to see so many varieties of tree and shrub, each with their own individual and changeable colour combinations.


Autumnal Colour

What can I say about Autumn - there is a subtle chill to the air alongside the stunning soft rays of dawn and dusk sunlight. The days begin to draw in and it becomes more acceptable to hide yourself under a cosy blanket, with a cup of tea whilst watching many a classic movie (maybe that is just me!).

Back in the garden, away from our beloved blanket, it is important that we do not neglect our outdoor spaces as summer fades. This is a prime opportunity in evoke a fresh flush of colour whilst preparing certain beds and borders for the following spring.

Here are a few of my favourite autumn flowering blooms, a perfect mix of colour for this vibrant and beautiful season:


Helenium

These bold, brash bloom will certainly pack a punch in your flower beds and borders, radiating scorching hues to create the perfect mix of autumnal colour.

They also make the most stunning cut flowers in a vase, creating a wonderful centre piece in the home.

Helenium prefer well drained soil in sun or part shade and can spread between 45-60cm (18-24").



Helianthus

An incredibly hardy sunflower that brings an extra dose of sunshine into your summer garden whilst continuing through to early Autumn, whatever the weather! (a very important fact for us here in the UK)

These plants fashion an abundance of large and brightly coloured blooms, up to 15cm in width - the ultimate bee magnet and the perfect addition to a wildflower patch.

Helianthus prefer well drained soil in full sun and will grow to approximately 80cm (32") whilst spreading to 50cm (32")






Kniphofia 

Impressive stately stems topped with a cone-like bloom head will elevate the warm autumnal shades during this changeable season.

Meanwhile the clumps of grassy foliage will create soft and subtle textures against companion plants. Kniphofia prefer poor, dry soil in full sun or part shade whilst growing to an approximate height of 1.2m (4') and a spread of 60cm (24").





A timeless and classic bloom that are both beautiful and incredibly long flowering, which means we can enjoy its presence throughout 6 months of the year!

They are highly attractive to bees, whilst being easy to grow. They are not fussy on soil conditions and will thrive in both sun or part shade. Penstemon will spread to approximately 45-60cm (18-24").





Echinacea 

I really do adore these blooms and am fascinated by the stunning colour they produce throughout late summer and autumn. A highly unique bloom to implement into your beds and borders.

Echinacea are easy to grow and are  not fussy on soil conditions when grown in full sun or part shade. You should expect your plants to grow to an approximate height of 75-90cm (30-36") and a spread of 45-60cm (18-24").




Heuchera

Heuchera are loved for their spectacular foliage, and my word is it stunning - the absolute epitome of autumnal colour. What makes Heuchera even more wonderful, is that it is evergreen and deters slugs and snails from destroying its beautiful foliage.

Heuchera prefer well drained soil in sun or part shade and will grow to an approximate height and spread of 35cm (14").







Salvia

Beautiful open mouthed blooms adorn scented foliage from spring to autumn. A wonderful addition planted near a path or seat where the fragrance will be released when the foliage is disturbed. 
Salvia prefers well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. It will grow to an approximate height & spread 60-90 cm (24-36"). 





Dahlia

Huge, sumptuous blooms appear in summer and autumn on surprisingly strong stems that stand majestically in almost any weather. This makes them excellent for cutting too, lasting up to 10 days in a vase!  

You should expect to see these plants grow to an approximate height 80-90cm (32-36") and spread of 60-75cm (24-30"). 





Have you started to plan your autumn gardens yet? What are your favourite scorchers? I am looking forward to the changing season and thinking about how I can make my garden look unrecognisable from its summer state.

I hope you all have the most amazing Bank Holiday weekend!

(becky@hayloftplants.co.uk)

Friday, 19 August 2016

Comeback Kings and Queens

From talking to others in and out the office, the general consensus was that Hydrangea were out dated, old fashioned and just plain archaic. You would almost sense the shudder from fellow garden -a - holics whenever you spoke of Hydrangea. More of us want to experiment in gardens by implementing 'unusual' and 'exciting' blooms that create a talking point with neighbours and guests.

However, in more recent times attitudes have been changing towards this beautiful bloom where we have been introduced to newer varieties with new found versatility - perfect for flower beds, pots and small spaces. These plants are underestimated and it should really be highlighted how adaptable they are in soil types and plant positioning.  

Fashions come around in stages and Hydrangea are becoming increasingly more popular with a new generation of gardeners. It was even named as the Flower Councils Plant of the month in July of this year.

I also chose it as our new cover photo for our Facebook and Twitter pages - which has also proved very popular!

Stunning cut Hydrangea - perfect as a standalone feature in a vase - Our new Facebook cover photo

If you are still not convinced, I hope I can change your mind:

Hydrangea Magic Red Harlequin
Hydrangea ‘MagicRed Harlequin’ is a relatively new introduction and an improvement on the sensational Magical Harlequin. 

This fantastic variety is coveted for its contrasting two-toned red and white blooms - interesting and unusual floral markings making it a spectacular feature piece.

You may be surprised to learn that each of these flower heads are the size of a small melon - an obvious statement piece to increase the envy meter of your neighbours.

‘Magic Red Harlequin’ will pack your summer borders with exquisite bloom heads and bright green foliage, in a way no other flowering shrub can.



Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’


Hydrangea macrophylla‘Miss Saori’ is perfect if you are really into a border full of voluptuous bright pinks and purples - a hot bed of rich tones and shades.

This particular variety fashions large flower heads where each petal glows, changing shades from pale pink, gradually becoming darker with an attractive dark pink outline on each petal.

These stunning blooms flower prolifically throughout the summer season providing you with long lasting colour.

To top it all off the bright green foliage adopts red overtones in spring and autumn providing further interest throughout the year - What could be better!?




Hydrangea arborescens‘Annabelle’ produces large, dinner plate sized balls and are formed from clusters of white blooms during summer and early autumn - perfect to fit in with companion shrubs and plants as they are subtle in colour, yet magnificent statement pieces.

These creamy white blooms fade to lime green in autumn then papery brown to make, in our opinion one the finest seed heads in your winter garden, providing interest throughout the entire year.

If you are after the perfect table centre piece, or would like a unique flower bouquet, this variety are ideal for flower arranging.

Unlike other Hydrangea, Annabelle will reliably flower every year, even if the winter has been very cold, or if the plant has endured a harsh pruning.


Hydrangea aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’
Hydrangea aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’


Hydrangea aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’ have stunning lace cap flower heads with violet blue buds and pretty soft outer blooms throughout May to October.

The name 'Hot Chocolate' refers to the sumptuous chocolate brown foliage and burgundy undersides that fade to deep green in the late season.

This variety is happy in borders and containers and is very easy to grow - so there is no excuse for any beginners out there!

It will grow in most soil conditions and in any position in your garden - Easy peasy.






Hydrangea paniculata ‘Wims Red’
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Wims Red’

Hydrangea paniculata‘Wims Red’ is a magical colour changing variety and a plant that will really stand out in your garden.

This unique element will mesmerise you, changing the dynamic of your flower beds as the colour change sets in.

This is why this variety is commonly known as ‘Fire and Ice’. In July beautiful white cone shaped panicles of blooms smother the foliage which changes in August, where each petal adopts a brilliant pink tinge. Eventually it'll change into a deep red in late summer and early autumn - very apt for the time of year

This variety will also make the perfect cut flower!




Have I changed your mind yet? Are you a Hydrangea friend or foe? Let me know!

I hope you all enjoy your weekend and I look forward to catching up next week!

becky@hayloftplants.co.uk