Give borders an autumn boost

It’s easy to inject fresh colour and vigour into your borders in early autumn by planting some hardy perennials in full bloom. Not only will they look good immediately, but they’ll also give repeat performances for years to come. 

You’ll find a vibrant array of seasonal plants on sale in garden centres and DIY stores throughout autumn. Choose larger plants for immediate impact, rather than buying smaller ones by mail-order, as these won’t perform for several years. Great autumn perennials to look out for include:

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Michaelmas daisies

These simple daisy blooms are available in shades of white, blue and pink. Plant them in flower in the middle or back of borders, where they can take over from early summer perennials growing in front.

Sedum spectabile

As well as succulent leaves, this plant produces pretty pink flowers. Bees and butterflies love this late supply of nectar. Varieties are available in several sizes, with green, grey or purple-tinged foliage.

Japanese anemones

These stately perennials enjoy full sun or partial shade, gradually spreading once established. Add plenty of compost to the planting hole to encourage their fibrous roots to grow deeply, and keep them well watered.

Caryopteris

With fluffy blue flowers and aromatic leaves, this perennial grows to 1m tall and likes a warm, sheltered spot. The flowers attract bees and butterflies. When planting, tease out the roots if they look congested.

Chinese blue gentian

This low-growing hardy perennial, Gentiana sino-ornata, produces rich blue trumpets over a spreading carpet of green leaves. It needs acid soil – if you don’t have this, then grow it in a shallow pot of ericaceous compost.

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