2017 has been an odd year here in the North West. We had a mild dryish winter, not much spring rain and up to mid July, a dry summer. As a result, many of the later flowering plants have started flowering much earlier. I usually expect Japanese Anemones to flower in September and October but this year, they started in late July.
However, there are some plants that will give autumn colour, so here are some recommendations. The dark purple foliage and red flowers of Dahlia, Bishop of Landaff would contrast with the bright yellow flowers of Rudbekia fulgida Goldsturm. It is one of my favourite plants because the flowers go on for weeks, in some seasons well into October. Both like a moisture retentive but well drained soil so don’t try to grow Rudbekia in light sandy soils.
Another long flowering plant are Asters, which can be tall, about 1m or short to 30cms. They have recently been renamed as Symphyiocrichum but I can’t see gardeners remembering the name! Aster novae belgii Little Pink Beauty grows to about 30cms and has many pink daisy like flowers for weeks. If you like taller Asters then try Aster frikatii Monch which has lavender pale blue flowers and grows to 1m. Both would look good with the yellow Rudbekia.
Sedum spectabile Autumn Joy is a reliable autumn flowering perennial with succulent foliage and flat haeds of dark red flowers loved by bees in autumn. They can grow in lighter soils and also do well in heavy clay soil.Some perennials will flower again in autumn so maybe your Delphiniums, Roses, some perennial Geraniums and Astrantias will give a second showing provided they have had to first flush of flowers cut off in summer.
For pretty flowers under the shade of trees or in other dry shady spots, try Cyclamen hederifolium. They flower in autumn with the flowers popping up before the leaves as you can see from the photo. They have lovely foliage too which lasts throughout winter. Colour is white and all shades of pink. They grow from corms which start small and over time, will get to saucer size. The spring flowering one is Cyclamen coum so get both for pretty flowers in autumn and early spring!
September and October is a good time to dig up, split and move perennials whilst the soil is damp and plants have time to settle before winter. Also a good time to plant and move evergreen shrubs for the same reason.
Plant out runners of strawberry plants or buy new plants. Strawberries start to reduce production after a few years and need replacing for maximum fruit production. If apples are ripe they should come away in the hand if lifted gently. Do not try to pull them off the trees as that is a sign they are not ripe.