Garden inspiration for Autumn

Nikki Hollier - Border in a Box

This time of year, the garden can look a bit dull but with some thoughtful planning you can create a beautiful outdoor space, even if it’s just a simple update of a container by your front door, I’ll show you how with these three simple ideas.

Evergreen border There are so many lovely shrubs with great colour and shaped foliage that can create interest and texture to your garden all year round and I always add them into every border I design. For example Nandina domestica ‘Seika’ which is evergreen and has beautiful foliage which are bright red and turns green when mature. It loves a sunny, well drained spot. Add some standard laurel trees – I call them lollipop trees to add some height to the border and you can’t beat Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ for its bright orange stems. I appreciate it’s a deciduous shrub, but the winter stems are stunning. All three shrubs would look great together and will look good all winter – you can always add some additional colour with seasonal bulbs and bedding plants.

Creating an autumnal container When planting any container, I always use the mantra ‘thriller, filler and spiller’ – which means, what plant is the main focus (thriller), what filler can go with it and what can trail/spill over the sides. As plants grow much slower in the colder months, it’s best to fill the planter right from the start, so choose larger specimens, or more of them. Add ivy to spill over the sides of the pots and use winter pansies and violas for instant colour and bulbs for seasonal interest. Remember to dead head the pansies to encourage more flowers. Ideal ‘thriller’ plant to use is a Skimmia japonica ‘obsession’ which has stunning shiny red berries and lustrous green leaves. Perfect for shade or part shade. Please note you will need a male skimmia nearby to crosspollinate to ensure the plant produces berries – try ‘Kew Green’, ‘Rubella’ or ‘Fragrans’.

Decorate for Halloween It’s always fun to decorate the area surrounding the front door. Use simple terracotta flowerpots of various sizes and fill them with plants that have orangecoloured leaves, berries and flowers. Such as Phormium (evergreen), Physalis alkekengi var. franchetii (commonly known as Chinese lantern) and Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’. Add in some Halloween themed pumpkins, gourds, black cats, and a witch’s broom which all add a bit of fun to the floral display

Nikki Hollier @borderinabox Royal Horticultural Society Silver Medal Winner & Peoples Choice Award Winner