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There is something very magical about cottage gardens in autumn. After a long summer the days grow shorter and the garden is full of seasonal interest.
There is the first smell of open fires on the air and an expectation of cosy nights by the fire. Cottage gardens have always been known for their seasonal drama. Autumn can also be the season of plenty for a productive cottage garden!
Late summer flowers, ripening fruits and autumn colours become a feast for the senses! The best way to ensure your cottage garden is an autumn paradise is to choose the best plants.
In this article, I will list the top 16 cottage garden plants for the best autumn flowers and foliage.
Sunflowers are one of those plants you are always grateful for sowing during springtime. Their large, radiant, flowers truly mark the very height of summer.
These remarkable plants are perfect for the autumn cottage garden. As days grow shorter, tall stems and flowers maintain their form creating a golden display.
Birds and can be seen fattening themselves up on the seeds before winter sets in.
2. Spiraea japonica
Spiraea japonica is a small, deciduous, shrub which grows to around 700mm tall. During the autumn the foliage turns into a dramatic display of yellows oranges and reds.
Clusters of bright pink flowers also appear during summer. This low growing shrub provides plenty of seasonal interest for the cottage garden border.
Asters are perennial flowering plants which grow to around 600mm in height. These plants are famous for their later summer flowering and daisy like, blue flowers.
The flowers will continue to bloom into November making them a true autumn delight.
Cotinus is a large shrub which grows up to 4 metres tall and is famous for its vibrant red foliage. This shrub can really add visual contrast amongst more typically coloured foliage.
During autumn, the leaves take on a much brighter, red colour making them look extraordinarily radiant!
More commonly known as ‘Red hot poker’ Kniphofia is a clump forming semi-evergreen perennial.
Originally from South Africa this plant has grass like foliage and large, attractive flowers. These large flowers persist well into autumn and look very much like their name suggests.
The red hot poker flowers are perfect for providing some novelty autumn colour for cottage gardens.
6. Boston ivy
Boston ivy is a vigorous climber with attractive, serrated, three lobed leaves. This deciduous climber is originally from North America and is famous for its striking autumn red foliage.
Due to its autumn brilliance Boston ivy became a popular vine to train up rural homes and cottages. If you ever see a building covered in bright red foliage, you can be sure it’s Boston ivy.
7. Sedum autumn joy
Sedum autumn joy is an extremely popular perennial, plant with dramatic seasonal interest. Belonging to the sedum family this plant is extremely hardy and drought tolerant.
During spring its fleshy stems spring into life forming decorative shapes. By autumn they have formed tall architectural foliage supporting a carpet of reddish pink flowers.
Witch-hazel is a large deciduous shrub which originally came from North America. Growing to a height of around 5 metres it is a substantial shrub.
However, its real, decorative value is shown in autumn with its remarkable colour display. Its leaves turn bright shades of yellow, orange and deep red.
Rudbeckias are beautiful flowering plants with large, daisy like, flowers.
Being a perennial Rudbeckia will come back year after year bringing colour and interest to cottage garden borders. This flower blooms from July until October making it a much favoured delight in autumn.
10. Vitis coignetiae
Vitis coignetiae is a woody, climbing, vine very closely related to grape vines. In fact, there is really very little difference other than it has much larger leaves and smaller fruit.
Grown as more of a decorative climber, this vine has absolutely stunning autumn colour. Coignetiae is a favourite of cottage gardens and frequently trained along the top of walls.
11. Japanese anemone
Japanese anemone is a perennial flowering plant which flowers during the autumn. It produces multiple lobed flowers which seem to dance on top of narrow stems.
It has attractive dark green foliage which can be planted as a ground cover.
12. Euonymus alatus compactus
Also known as 'Winged Spindle' or 'Fire Bush' this compact shrub has truly spectacular autumn foliage. This plant also has unusual cork like stems which add extra interest in winter.
The deciduous shrub is the perfect way to provide some seasonal drama in your cottage garden border.
13. Golden rod
Golden rod is a plant which provides sprays of yellow flowers during the late summer and autumn.
This clump forming perennial has a robust growing habit and easily divides and spreads. It is very popular with pollinators and is extremely cold and drought tolerant.
There are very few plants which are so unusual you actually doubt them being real. Calicarpa is a shrub well known for its bright purple and metallic autumn berries.
These look extremely peculiar against bare stems but do provoke some real interest later in the season.
15. Verbena bonariensis
Verbena bonariensis is a tall but very delicate looking perennial flowering plant.
During late summer its thin flowering stems shoot up 1.5 metres producing tight clusters of purple flowers.
These dance and sway in the breeze creating a dramatic dancing display. The flowers last well into autumn, perfect for the seasonal cottage garden border.
Also known as Sad bush Amelanchier is a small tree or large shrub with many great attributes.
During spring it blossoms with clusters of attractive white flowers before branches leaf out. In autumn foliage turns bright orange and red creating a dramatic and warming visual display.
Thank you for reading out article on Autumn foliage and flowers for cottage gardens.
If you would like a cottage garden builder or landscaping services do not hesitate to contact us.
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Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire