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Discover articles on garden design, seasonal planting tips for your garden and other news and views from Gillian Goodson Designs.

Planning your autumn/winter collection

  Euonymus alatus  - spectacular autumn colour  (Gillian Goodson Designs)

Euonymus alatus - spectacular autumn colour (Gillian Goodson Designs)

Glorious autumn! There is a noticeable change in the air and a drop in temperature that catches us by surprise. Foliage will be ablaze with fiery colours, berries and hips galore! There will be hip envy!

Enjoy swishing and kicking paths littered with leaves and creating a shower of colour; that unfettered, carefree fun, which is blissfully good for your soul.

Having an apple or pear tree in your garden is truly rewarding: beautiful flowers in spring, great for pollinators; and abundant fruit in autumn. They will be overflowing so pick to your heart’s content but do leave some for the birds. There are so many different varieties that it’s really down to your taste buds: Malus domestica ‘Golden Delicious’, M. domestica ‘James Grieve’ and M. domestica ‘Bramley’s Seedling’ are as popular as ever. For pears, try Pyrus communis ‘Williams’ Bon Chrétien’ or P. communis ‘Beth’, both dessert pears with lovely flavour. If your outdoor space is limited choose a self-fertile, dwarfing variety, which can be grown in a container. 

Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ (sweet gum) has stunning, long-lasting, flame-like, autumn colour. It is a tree for larger gardens that will be a magnet to the eye and doubly resplendent when reflected over water. Seek it out before its leaves have dropped in early November. 

The green foliage of the slow-growing shrub Euonymus alatus (winged spindle) is often overlooked until it turns every shade of pink through to brilliant crimson. It has scarlet fruit with a bright orange aril, a brave, sweet shop colour combination that works wonderfully in nature. Happy in partial shade, Cyclamen hederifolium with its marbled ivy-like leaves and delicate pinky-lilac flowers can be tucked in between tree roots. It is a hardy tuberous perennial that will create a delicately fragrant carpet. 

Gardenistas, it’s time to plan your autumn/winter collection—of vegetables that is. Spring bulb catalogues will be scattered on table tops—place those orders and start planting! Rakes poised? Go! It’s time to get your garden ready for winter. Make leaf mould from fallen leaves, prune deciduous shrubs and trees, tidy borders but remember to leave some areas undisturbed for hibernating mammals, mulch, lift tender bulbs, tubers etc. Indoors, you’ll notice more creepy crawlies as they too take shelter. It is also time to plant new trees, shrubs and hardy perennials. 

Harvest your pumpkins for Halloween or use in soups and pies. Whether you go trick or treating, don’t forget to change your clocks!