All beds and borders need star performers for each season, providing a continuation of shape and color. There are scores of first-rate fall plants, including dahlias, cannas and Japanese anemones, while many grasses are now at their best.
Cortaderia (pampas grass) has lavish plumes of spikelets in late summer and fall, and is a magnificent eye-catching compensation for the absence of summer flowers. Other grasses, such as Molinia, are not as immediately dramatic but their green strappy leaves will soon turn an astonishing orange -brown, and when they are placed to catch the setting sun look like they are about to ignite. Deftly placed contrasting yellow rudbeckias add an extra richness.
Fall bulbs provide as much fun and color as the spring ones, and can be spectacular when naturalized under trees or on a bank. One of the very best is the hardy Cyclamen coum, which flowers in shades of purple-magenta, pink and white. The most eye-catching forms include the red flowering ‘Nymans’ and the white ‘Album’.
Patchwork colors. Heathers provide a big boost to the fall garden because they are still flowering when many border plants are dying down. Even better, they have different colored foliage, and because most grow to a fairly uniform height up to 60cm (24in), they can be used to provide a flowing tapestry. Create a special bed with two or three focal points.
Molinia ‘Skyracer’ grass and Hydrangea ‘Limelight’
Heathers’ patchwork colors