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Autumn Colour with Perennials

This article was first published on 06 Apr 2021.

Paeonia Foliage

Paeonia Foliage

Photo by the Otago Daily Times

When we think of autumn from a gardener’s point of view we may admire the beautiful autumn foliage of the trees.  A gardener’s grim focus, though, can be that it’s time to get the leaf rake out and add those leaves to the compost heap.

However, as autumn approaches have you taken a moment to consider some of the autumn colour many perennials offer? Perennials may be starting to die back for the winter season and hunker down but their foliage offers a spot of colour.

Hostas’ foliage is lovely shades of golden yellow.  The taller perennials like Thalictrum and Pulmonaria are other good examples. By leaving the foliage on till it is frosted or collapses to the ground you will enjoy elongated colour.

Some other perennials with wonderful shades of foliage colour are Peony, Gentian, Ligularia, and even the good old perennial Geranium.  Astilbe species and Alchemilla mollis’ actual flowering stems can look beautiful too.  Do note though it does have the ability to self-seed and spread.

Take a walk around your garden to note whether you have any perennials that offer this potential.  Make a note of which ones are suitable.

This spring you can divide these plants or shift them to a new location and create your own little patch of autumn and extend the seasonal display.  Double your bonus autumn display and add some shrubs or trees that also have wonderful autumn foliage.