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Fall is here and I am already missing all the bounty that the summer garden brings. I can’t get too sad just yet though – fall perennials and shrubs provide such beautiful colours and textures outside – they might actually be my favourite of the whole year! While they sadly mean that winter is coming, the fall flowers, shrubs, and colours are something that must be enjoyed while they are here.
If you have read my other gardening guides (Perennials for the Cutting Garden and Flowering Shrubs for your Cutting Garden) then you will know that I’m the first to admit to being a relaxed gardener. I am all about perennials and shrubs in my garden but annuals, seeds, and tubers are not for me! I love using plants in my garden that will provide me with viewing beauty all throughout the year but also the opportunity to cut them when they are looking their best to enjoy them in flower arrangements too. There are so many wonderful flower farmers in my area that work hard to provide the beautiful product that I look forward to using each week so I am just hoping to grow a few special things that I can also enjoy in my garden all year round.
Fall is a great time to plant perennials and shrubs in your garden so that it is ready to go in the spring. I hope that this list, along with my others, can provide you with some inspiration if you are planning a garden this fall. Here are 5 of my favourite perennials and shrubs to enjoy in your fall garden.
Fall is when ornamental grasses really shine in the garden. Grasses look beautiful in a mixed perennial bed and planted en masse. Some of my favourite ornamental grasses are: fountain grass (try ‘Hameln’ for a lush dwarf variety), Karl Foerster Reed Grass and Switch Grass. You can’t go wrong with any of them for architecture and structure in the garden. Grasses generally like light so they’re perfect for a sunny corner in the garden. Plant them in a cluster for a dramatic impact. Come fall, their golden yellow colour stands out in the garden and I love to cut their plumes to use in arrangements and wreaths – the wreath and bouquet above both use fountain grass. Make sure that you don’t cut your ornamental grasses back in the fall, wait til the spring. They provide excellent winter interest in the garden and look beautiful when the snow flies – they’re also great all through the winter in arrangements and wreaths! Who knew your ornamental grasses could be so well enjoyed?
Sedum is a great plant that totally slides under the radar all summer long. It remains totally green even into August when it turns a faint pink. By time October rolls around it is a deep pinkish red colour and it really stands out in the fall garden. ‘Autumn Joy’ is the most popular variety that will give you the colour you really want. Sedum also has excellent winter interest and keeps its seed head all winter, so again, don’t cut it back until spring! As a cut flower, sedum has structure and it has a long vase life – you can enjoy a vase of sedum for weeks!
No list could be complete without hydrangea, it is such a giving plant. The paniculata and macrophylla varieities turn lovely burnt pinks and greens in the fall and the annabelles turn green. Hydrangeas also dry wonderfully which makes them a great addition to fall wreaths or Holiday installations. From a garden perspective, a hydrangea looks just as beautiful in the fall as it does in the summer when it is blooming. In cut flower arrangements I love the blooms most of all as they are turning pink and drying. Hydrangeas, in the garden or in a flower arrangement are show stoppers- they’re what I call bang for your buck 😉
Like sedum, this clematis lays low in the background all year until the beginning of September when it bursts into lush white flowers. It’s a treat in the garden when most fall flowers are blooming shades of pink, orange, and yellow – the white plumes make us feel like it’s still summer. In a cut flower arrangement, the sweet autumn clematis is delicate and whispy – perfect in a bridal bouquet.
Japanese anemone is one of the cutest flowers and it grows in an abundant mound come fall. This flower comes in pink or white and both colours have a sweet yellow centre. The downside to anemones is that this plant has no winter interest in the garden but it is such a showstopper when it comes that we love it anyway. It is a great delicate flower to add to any cut flower arrangement.
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