Todmorden in bloom: Autumn colour has arrived in our gardens

This pretty potted Acer shows autumnal colour

This pretty potted Acer shows autumnal colour

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As the gardening season is gliding gracefully to a close, nature lays on a stunning display of orange, gold and scarlet leaves to end the season.

Autumn is at its most spectacular when seen on a large scale at stately gardens or parks where more unusual specimens can be seen in their colourful glory. Autumn delivers reliable colour palettes so effectively.

Nature is preparing for winter by producing berries and nectar-rich flowers, besides evergreen foliage to provide cover for wild-life during winter. Shrubs and climbers provide food for wildlife in the form of berries, rose-hips and seeds. A mixed hedgerow is the most inviting place for insects, birds and small mammals in winter-time. It’s not just gardeners who enjoy this seasonal colourful makeover, many garden birds savour the opportunity to dine on these tasty berries. Some of the more popular varieties are devoured within weeks, others will survive right into winter.

Common holly produces deep red berries against the backdrop of spiky, glossy green leaves. Rowans (Sorbus) are small trees whose berries are much loved by birds. These are frequently seen on our hillsides. Elder has large flower-heads in spring followed by striking sprays of black berries.

Many species roses produce varying sized hips in autumn to follow a riot of summer flowers. This is an ideal time to check Garden Centre rose-hips. Cotoneasters come in all shapes and sizes, from horizontal to wall-trained varieties, which are smothered with spring white flowers then autumn red berries - a truly wild-life friendly shrub. Pyracantha (firethorn) comes with red or orange densely-clustered berries which you can train against a wall or, with spiky hawthorns or prickly Berberis, can protect your property! Skimmia is an old favourite small shrub with glossy evergreen leaves and rich red berries. Cornus/ Dogwood is appreciated for their dark red, green or gold stems throughout winter-time. Hydrangeas display stunning flower-heads, even in winter when turned to parchment. Japanese maples/ Acers display vibrant autumn shades when their leaves turn scarlet and can be grown in large pots for smaller spaces. These colourful shrubs look great alongside late nectar-rich flowering red hot pokers, michaelmas daisies, heleniums and chrysanthemums.

Todmorden in Bloom will always welcome more helpers. For more information please phone Jean on 01706 817492 or see our website at www.todmordeninbloom.com or https://www.facebook.com/Todmordenbloomers