I love early autumn when a new range of plants spring into colour. It takes some planning to have a border looking good at this time especially as we have had a dry summer so many plants are dry and tired.
If you are looking for plants that will come up every year and give you a display of colour at this time of year consider perennials such as Knipofia or Red Hot Pokers although some are not red. Varieties such as Sunningdale Yellow and Strawberries and Cream flower later in the season. They look good with perennial geraniums around their feet. Another of my favourite plants are Penstemons. These have bell shaped flowers in white, reds, pinks and blues. Easy to grow in sunny positions and last well into autumn if you cut off the dead flower heads.
For damper soil, and if you want a tall perennial, go for Helianthus Lemon Queen. In good heavy soil that does not dry out it will reach 2m or more and will delight you with heads of pale yellow small sunflowers for weeks. They look great with red and orange Heleniums.
A few shrubs flower later in the season and one I would recommend is Abelia grandiflora or Abelia Frances Mason with variegated foliage. Their appeal is that they have scented white flowers over a long season in late summer and early autumn. Plant in any type of soil in a sheltered position and prune in early spring.
Prune rambler and climbing roses in autumn by cutting out old shoots and tying in new robust stems. If you tie the stems horizontally you will get many shoots growing up carrying flowers next year. Let them grow upwards and all you will get is flowers above your head out of sight.
If you would like to visit gardens for ideas, I suggest you look out for gardens open under the National Gardens Scheme where all proceeds go to charities including Marie Cure Cancer Care and Macmillan Cancer Support. Mount Pleasant Gardens at Kelsall are open on 4th and 6th September. A plant lovers delight with acres of gardens to discover. Many paths lead to themed borders and pools and the sculpture exhibition is an added attraction.