Autumn stars for the terrace
I’m just guessing here, but if you’re anything like me, then the garden may have got away from you a little over the summer. Sometimes a massive tidy-up just isn’t on the cards until well into October, but I do find that if I can move the focus onto the terrace with something dazzling in a pot, I can generally get away with being thoroughly slovenly elsewhere. If I’m not feeling like spending money then I will always group what I have together (see above) - got some nasturtiums knocking about? Put them on a table. A bit of chard? Add it to same table… you get the idea (oh, and always add gourds for glamour). But sometimes a complete overhaul is in order, in which case perhaps look past the chrysanthemums and towards winter beauty. Avoid mixed plantings, which always look like they’ve come straight out of a big-shed garden centre, and instead stick to one thing, repeating everywhere for the very best effect. Nothing against pansies, but it doesn’t have to be a pansy. Seek out heucheras (really very wonderful in abundance), and grasses, such as Festuca glauca or Pennisetum villosum, or Stipa tenuissima which add welcome height and waftiness to a space. Obviously heathers are an absolute winner, as are ornamental cabbages, both of which will give you an instant feel of smartness, but if that’s a little too smart, then use Helleborus niger, which has just the right mix of laxity and control all rolled into one. Speaking of green, a few evergreen ferns will create instant beauty in pots. Last but not least, love yourself by getting some Cyclamen coum. Beauteous evergreen leaves will keep you interested over autumn and the most delightful of butterfly blooms will appear over winter and well into spring.