Bring your October garden to life with these stunning plants for colour, shape and structure. Naomi Salade shares her favourites
The month of October is distinctively and unambiguously autumnal. The bright, warm days of September can frequently masquerade as summer, and November may turn chill and drear enough to be mistaken for January. Yet, sandwiched between, is the point where the season of mellow fruitfulness reaches its crescendo.
The light is soft and forgiving; the landscape bathed in the low, rich rays of an old sun that shines through bleached stems and intensifies the reds and golds of seasonal foliage.
While temperatures have dipped, the nascent chill of mist-wreathed mornings is often counterpointed by afternoons warm enough for butterflies to sip on late nectar, make free with ripe fruit and bask while they still may. Mushrooms appear as if by magic, in dew-pearled grass, while crystalline night skies promise frost, one day soon.
But although season and weather form are subtle and muted, the garden doesn’t have to follow suit. Some plants may indeed be fading quietly away, but for others the party is not over yet. Late flowers, brilliant fruit, sculptural seedheads, bright berries and foliage of every tone and hue can be combined to create impact and celebrate the bold, the brash and the handsome.
Here we explore ways to heighten the drama of the October garden and harness the architectural forms and clashing contrasts that nature gleefully provides, as it undertakes its final fling before the frosts. Even plants that are quiet during the rest of the year can suddenly have a change of personality; turning heads and winning hearts with a feisty blast of autumn colour.
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