Garden inspiration for autumn

Sussex Prairie Garden Late Summer

Many of our gardens start to wane at this time of year, with the flowering plants  beginning to flop and looking sad. English gardens tend to be at their best in early summer, with the fresh flush of growth, full of lupins, delphiniums, peonies and roses. By the end of summer, the garden can look lacklustre and there’s an urge to cut everything down to the ground, leaving it bare and featureless till spring. But it doesn’t have to be that way.  

Take inspiration from the planting design at the Sussex Prairie Garden. Full of ornamental grasses and late season perennials, many of which hail from North America, the garden offers bold swathes of colour and interest right through the autumn and into winter. 

Planting in this bold naturalistic style is one of our favourites here at Chiltern Garden Design. It really packs a punch, takes very little maintenance and weeds mostly don’t stand much of a chance amongst these strong growing drifts of striking plants.

Form is seen as more important than colour in this planting design style, where any shade goes, the more the merrier. It’s about contrasting bold upright shapes with graceful curves, bellflowers with open daisy heads, spiky with soft. 

As the seasons progress, the colours fade but the shapes are retained, in a more muted spectrum of buffs, golds, tawny browns and whites. 

What is particularly important in the plant selection is to choose plants that remain standing upright in our damp British autumns and winters. We don’t want any soggy bottoms or tops please! 

Sussex Prairie Garde in Winter

Plant selection for winter needn’t just be restricted to heavy dense evergreens. Grasses that peak in late summer and early autumn with their showy inflorescences often stand up right through the winter, adding lightness and movement to an otherwise stolid garden. 

We highly recommend a visit to the Sussex Prairie Garden this autumn. It’s open until 11 October 2020 (closed on Tuesdays) so get your skates on!
Address: Morlands Farm, Wheatsheaf Rd, Henfield BN5 9AT

Need more inspiration? Check out our other blogs on planting design, garden design, growing your own food and more.