Planning for the Autumn Part 2

By Lorraine Spooner

Following on from Part 1 of the ‘Planning for Autumn’ blog which focused on ‘The Right Plant in the Right Place’, this week, Part 2 provides plant recommendations for different soils with a particular emphasis on autumn colour.

Planning for the Autumn Part 2

Clay soils

A heavy clay soil is often viewed with despair by the gardener, but once this type of soil has been improved with organic matter to break up the particles, clay soil benefits from the ability to retain nutrients and water, the perfect ingredients for healthy plant growth.  Some plants may be slow to establish in these conditions, but be patient, once the roots have penetrated the soil, aeration and drainage are improved.

Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’

The sweet gum tree is one of the best for autumn colour, the multiple shades intensifying through the season eventually falling to display a vibrant carpet on the ground below.  ‘Slender Silhouette’ is a good variety to choose where space is limited.

Planning for the Autumn Part 2
Planning for the Autumn Part 2

Betula utilis var. ‘Jacquemontii’

Primarily grown for the stunning bark, which provides such interest in the winter garden, the foliage turns a buttery yellow in autumn adding to the attributes of this deservedly popular tree.  Pictured is a multi-stemmed form which is currently available in a variety of sizes and looks spectacular as a focal point set against a green backdrop.

Planning for the Autumn Part 2
Planning for the Autumn Part 2

Magnolia x soulangeana

It is the huge goblet shaped flowers on this shrubby tree that gives rise to one of its common names – the saucer magnolia.  The white, pink and purple blooms vary between varieties and often appear before the foliage unfurls in late spring.  Needs a sheltered site to protect the buds from late frosts.

Planning for the Autumn Part 2
Planning for the Autumn Part 2

Other plants to consider for this type of site:

Malus ‘Evereste’, Sorbus cashmiriana, Aster novi-belgii, Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White’, Monarda ‘Mahogany’, Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’