If I asked you to name shrubs that flower in autumn, I wonder how many you could think of? I’d imagine many of us would struggle as a lot of our favourite garden shrubs tend to flower in spring and summer. Then you have the wonderfully scented winter blooming shrubs, daphnes, witch hazels and lots of other gorgeous things, but we tend to associate the autumn months with fruiting and berrying plants and those whose foliage gives us the spectacular display of gold, scarlet and copper. There are some shrubs that will offer you flower colour at this time of year though and its well worth finding room for one or three in your garden, to keep the flowering season going just that little bit longer. These three will look super alongside bright autumn foliage too. Here are a few to consider:
Ceratostigmata willmottianum – the botanical name’s a bit of a mouthful, so you can call it Chinese plumbago if you like! The foliage colours up well in autumn, but this small shrub has the most lovely blue flowers in early autumn too – they’re star shaped, a little like vinca or periwinkle.
Hebe ‘Autumn Glory’ – as evergreens, hebes are a great choice for keeping the garden green all year round. ‘Autumn Glory’s a dwarf hebe only growing to about 60cm high and wide, so I’d plant in a group of three at least. Its flowers are purple blue, from late summer through to autumn.
Skimmia ‘Kew Green’ – skimmias are often available at this time of year for containers, with pink buds or red berries, and they form the backbone of many lovely winter container displays. ‘Kew Green’ has pale green buds lasting for several weeks which eventually open to scented flowers. It’s quite happy in a shady spot and with shiny evergreen leaves and a low, mound forming habit, it’s good for the front of a border. I’ve seen it used this way in St Paul’s Churchyard in London (at the back of the Cathedral ) where it’s fragrance sweetens the damp autumn air.
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