I have chosen to work with a completely different colour palette of flowers for October in contrast to the vivid Autumnal colours last month. We do still have rich orange and red blooms in the garden. Last week I picked a selection of flowers and vegetables which were full of Autumn brights.
Rich Autumnal Hues
Soft Autumnal Hues
Nevertheless our garden is gradually being transformed into a new colour palette of dusky vintage lilacs and pinks. The once vibrant colours are fading as the days get shorter and the garden is beginning to slumber. October is a month of transition.
Lucinda Warner – `Everything seems to shift and the feeling of settling and drawing inwards that autumn brings is as pronounced as the bright uprising and awakening that we sense in spring. As autumn progresses and the branches become increasingly bare, it is the softness of the landscape that captivates me. The fields smudged in pastel hues, the full, soft blues and greys of the skies and the warm low light that all at once dampens the glare of the world, yet infuses that on which it falls with a subtle kind of vibrancy.’
The stars of the show this month have been my asters and chrysanthemum. Asters are daisy-like perennials in the Asteraceae family. The name Aster comes from an Ancient Greek word meaning “star”, referring to the shape of the flower head. Asters are also known as Michaelmas daisies as they flower at the time of Michaelmas, the Feast of St Michael which is celebrated on the 29th September. They bring delightful colour to the garden in late Summer and Autumn when many other Summer blooms are beginning to fade. The plant’s height ranges from 8 inches to 8 feet, depending on the type. Why is it that whenever I try to find Asters in local garden centres I always see short, compact varieties?! Do let me know if you know where I can purchase taller varieties which would be better for cutting.
These traditional lavender-blue asters have a soft colour that is easy to place in the garden as they mix well with both Summer and Autumnal flowers.
Cosmos is a classic annual to grow for cutting. From a few seeds you get masses of flowers through the second half of the Summer to the first frosts if you keep on picking. I saved the seed from last year’s crop so the seed cost me nothing this year! I painted my white cosmos watercolour on a course with the very talented Anna Mason.
Apart from Cosmos another stalwart has been my tall pink Japanese anemone. These plants have had a succession of flowers from August into October and look beautiful at every stage, bud, flower and seed head.
I have never been very keen on Chrysanthemums until this year. They have an image of being garage forecourt flowers and are often presented in gaudy bouquets of bright red and yellow with a smattering of white and pink. I’ve recently had a Eureka Moment! It’s not the flower I dislike it’s the tasteless mismatched colour combinations that are often produced for bouquets on garage forecourts.
Chrysanthemum flowers in bouquets can be extremely tasteful if the colour combinations are given some thought. My Fabulous Flowers bouquet painting depicts a beautiful hand-tied bouquet of `Memory of Diane’ dahlias together with `Margarite’ daisies, `Avalanche’ spray roses and `Aloha’, `Vitality’ and `Alabasta’ roses. I love the gentle peaches and cream colour scheme which works wonderfully with the dahlias.
The penny has finally dropped and I now realise that chrysanthemums are invaluable garden blooms as they start to flower when everything else is going over. They also make fantastic flowers for cutting as they can last up to three weeks in a vase. By pure coincidence my Spring catalogue from Sarah Raven arrived today and there are an amazing selection of vibrant Chrysanthemums to be bought next year as rooted cuttings. Nothing namby pamby about these jewel-like colours! I will be investing in some of these rooted cuttings as I love the texture of these looser growing plants. Garden Centres seem to stock tight immaculate domes of Chrysanthemums that are all flower and no foliage. I like my garden flowers to have a natural cottage garden feel. In fact I would like to grow both Chrysanthemums and Asters with a more loose, floppy look next year.
I am sure these colours will mix together wonderfully with my vibrant dahlias. `Mambo’ and `Jescot Julie’ have flowered well this October.
I have chosen paler, pastel coloured blooms to dip my toe in the water growing chrysanthemums this year. To be honest I could only find these colours or garish yellow available to buy. The yellow really didn’t co-ordinate with my gardens’ other October blooms so white and pink it had to be! I must say these plants do look wonderful in pots by the front door. They also last for ages arranged in a posy vase when everything else has dropped their petals and gone brown.
October’s Posy is inspired by my new affinity with chrysanthemums. I chose to celebrate the dusky pink colour palette of my blooms to create a vintage effect.
So here we have my October Mosaic of flowers celebrating Autumn’s soft colour palette of dusky vintage lilacs and pinks. Which colour scheme did you prefer – September’s rich Autumnal Hues or October’s softer hues?