Autumn Glory – plants to enjoy in October

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us and there’s a nip in the air. There’s a wealth of rich autumn leaf colour to enjoy as well as berries and fruits. Late flowers inject a welcome flash of colour on dull days.

Acer Palmatum
Acer Palmatum. Photo:

Every garden deserves a Japanese Maple. They have autumn colour all sewn up as they change from the greens or subdued reds of summer to spectacular shades of flame-red and oranges. Acer Palmatum Osakazuki is one of the best. It’s maple-shaped leaves graduate through every shade of glorious reds and oranges for several weeks before falling. Ideally grown in a sheltered spot in light shade, it will eventually grow to a height of 5m.

Euonymus europaeus 'Red Cascade'
Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’. Photo:

Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’(Spindle Tree) is really a large shrub that won’t set hearts alight in summer with its dark green leaves and small flowers, but more than makes up for it in autumn and winter, when it sets the garden ablaze with its strong leaf colour, and after the leaves fall there’s the bonus of orange-pink winged fruit to provide a winter feast for birds. The best leaf colour is in full sun, but it will also grow in partial shade. 2.5m tall.

Nerine bowdenii 'Pink'.
Nerine bowdenii ‘Pink’. Photo:

Nerine bowdenii’s (Guernsey Lily) bright pink funnel-shaped flowers bloom ahead of its leaves. Best planted in full sun against a south-facing wall, a good baking in summer will reward you with a glamorous show in autumn. 45cm tall.