There are an abundance of plants and flowers to enjoy in October, and even more to buy to prepare for next year, summer may have come to an end, but autumn brings a whole new garden to your home, and with the changing season a shifting spectacle of flowers and foliage.

As spring came early this year, the usual plants we would be experiencing have died off a little earlier, our petunias have become quite straggly and we picked the last of our plums a few weeks ago, however some have struggled against the season and followed tradition by bringing us beautiful blooms as the days turn colder and the nights draw in.

There’s nothing more delightful than a crisp autumn evening, enjoying a glass of wine or a cup of tea whilst watching the sunset, and then the sweet smell of stocks and phlox satiate your senses. Not only a true delight to the eyes, these picture-perfect proud perennials bring fragrance to any garden and release it best when the air is still and the traffic has disappeared.

Globe artichokes may be grown as a vegetable however many keen gardeners are now recognizing the advantages of this astonishing plant. Reaching heights of up to three meters the huge spearmint jagged leaves bring an exotic flavour to the back of any border, and provide privacy if placed in the right spot. As they fruit, around now, the heads will grow purple hair that contrasts beautifully against an autumn sky, a must for any large garden.

After watching it climb up walls, drainpipes, and the plum tree or even on a frame all summer, morning glory will now spoil you with a fantastic exhibition of flowers. Ranging from purple to white, these are a sight to behold as the clematis dies back, and once they’ve finished flowering the seeds can be collected for the same spectacle next year.

Nocotiana will now address its confidence issues and show you its flowers all day long, sometimes the summer sun is a little too much for this fearful flower and it chooses only to come out and play when everyone else has gone to bed.

Plants to buy now!

Bulbs bulbs and more bulbs take pride in the pictures on the packets and treat yourself to an array of the fantastic new bulbs on offer this season.

Herbs – Chives can be split now, personally this is my all-time favourite garden plant. Not only does it produce purple allium heads that compliment any garden, treated well it blossoms twice a year and the flowers as well as the stems are a tasty addition to any meal making it practically perfect in every way. Bay trees are a terrific acquisition too, whether you like the topiary balls or a more cottage garden feel, plant them before any signs of frost and your winter stews will benefit tenfold.

Seeds – Sweet peas can be sown direct, ready to germinate as soon as the spring arrives, alpines, although they can be planted any time of the year from pots, are a great purchase now, especially aubrietia, variegated and coloured, in walls or on a rockery, as this is one of the first flowers we see in the new year and bound to be welcomed with open arms as a sign that winter is coming to a close.

Bushes and Trees – Fruit trees, bushes and hedges are best planted now before any signs of frost, so if you’ve been hankering after a mini orchard, now is the time to purchase your apple, cheery and plum trees, and if you’re really lucky, you will be rewarded with the blossom in a few months’ time.

There are still an abundance of flowers, shrubs and perennials that have not been mentioned here, so please check back to see how you can enjoy your summer for that little bit longer.


Martina Mercer loves perennial plants in her garden and has published many garden related articles.

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