It’s hard to think of autumn and winter when we are still in the throes of summer but if you want to have that extra layer of colour late into the season, it’s well worth  the planning.

You have enormous choice where autumn is concerned with so many trees and shrubs providing blazing red and oranges as their leaves turn but  I’ve concentrated here on a mix of flower and berry interest and then added in more compact species of trees suitable for smaller gardens (3-4m high at maturity) and of course some climbers of particular winter interest. There is lots more to choose from but here are my top tips to provide a mixture of evergreen interest along with berry, flower and even scent!

Best times to plant are in October when the ground is still warm but we are moving into wetter conditions, or in spring when the frosts have passed.  Preparing the planting hole with a mix of blood, fish and bone fertiliser will help your plants, shrubs and trees get a good start.


Acers  Palmatum such as ‘Blood good’ and ‘Osakazuki’ both grow to approximately  4m depending on how much they like their position and conditions and can be pruned to shape quite well as long as you don’t overdo it!

  • Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’
  • Liquidambar styraciflua
  • Rhus typhina


  • Callicarpa bodinieri
  • Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’
  • Leycesteria formosa
  • Enkianthus
  • Sambucus nigra
  • Viburnum opulus
  • Viburnum plicatum
  • Nandina domestica (evergreen and only suitable for sheltered conditions)

Perennials & Bulbs

  • Asters
  • Sedum spectabile
  • Rudbeckia
  • Autumn crocuses Colchicum
  • Nerine
  • Cyclamen

Late flowering roses

Choose repeat-flowering varieties. Keep dead-heading and feed with rose fertiliser spring and summer to give them energy to keep flowering.


  • Parthenocissus tricuspidata
  • Parthenocissus henryana
  • Pyracantha


Flowers, Shrubs & Bulbs

  • Hellebores
  • Viburnum tinus (evergreen)
  • Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’
  • Skimmia rubella (evergreen)
  • Skimmia magic marlot (evergreen)
  • Skimmia confusa (evergreen)
  • Daphne bholua
  • Osmanthus burkwoodii (evergreen)
  • Sarcococca (evergreen)
  • Mahonia aquifolium(evergreen)
  • Euonymus fortunei gaiety or Emerald ‘n’ Gold or Blondy  (evergreen)
  • Winter heathers (evergreen)
  • Winter pansies
  • Crocus
  • Snowdrops
  • Winter aconite

Climbers & Wall shrubs

  • Lonicera purpusii
  • Pyracantha (evergreen)
  • Chaenomeles superba
    & speciosa
  • Jasminum nudiflorum (evergreen stems)
  • Clematis armandii (evergreen – only suitable for sheltered conditions)
  • Trachelospermum
  • Jasminoides (evergreen – only suitable for sheltered conditions)
  • Hedera helix and other evergreen ivies (evergreen)


  • Prunus subhirtella autumnalis
  • Hamamelis x intermedia
  • Cotoneaster cornubii
  • Prunus serrula (for its copper, peeling bark)
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