How to brighten up your autumn garden
PUBLISHED: 14:14 24 October 2014 | UPDATED: 14:14 24 October 2014
Add some autumn berries to your garden, they're visually rewarding and also a boon for wildlife. Kent Life takes a look at the array on offer at Coolings Garden Centre
Hardy fruiting plants will continue colour in the garden this month with their bright berries in golds, oranges, reds, pinks and even purple, hanging like mini baubles on skeletal stems or as shining lanterns among evergreen foliage.
Autumn is a great time for planting trees and shrubs, including those that produce these jewel brights of autumn and winter. Not only will these choices delight us they’ll keep the life going in your garden by attracting a wide variety of fruit-eating birds and other wildlife.
A bonus is that most berry-producing trees and shrubs are easy to grow, they don’t need much pruning and tolerate a range of soils and climatic conditions, including frost, wind and drought.
There are choices for both large and small gardens so it’s worth doing a bit of research and visiting garden centres to see what’s on offer. I took a trip to Coolings Garden Centre in Knockholt to chat to ‘plant doctor’ Mark Reeve, and do just that.
The centre has a great choice at this time of year, with highlight displays and neat rows of options. “We have our own nursery so we can grow plants fresh and have them in the garden centre,” he says.
“Our main focus is herbaceous perennials, trees, conifers and bedding plants, with some shrubs. We try to do unusual displays that are a bit quirky.”
Mark suggests the following as his 10 top choices: sorbus, crataegus, cotoneaster, callicarpa, berberis, pyracantha, crab apple, viburnum, rose hips and skimmia.
“From 2 November we are running a theme called ‘The enchanted autumn showcase, a garden of the imagination’, with winter-interest berries, planted containers and wooden toadstools.”
If you have a tiny garden the best way to introduce berries may be to select boundary hedge plants, such as an espaliered pyracantha or cotoneaster, a spindle, sloe or a climbing rose that produces hips.
For a larger space you can’t fail to love the beauty of spring flower and autumn fruit offered by the crab apples; there are even small varieties for containers.
And don’t overlook the evergreens, such as holly; you can even clip them as topiary for the tiniest of spaces. n
GET IN TOUCH
Coolings Garden Centres
Rushmore Hill, Knockholt TN14 7NN
Mon-Sat (9am-5pm), Sun (9am-4.30pm), 01959 532269
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