Flowering Fall Gardens: Creating A Beautiful Fall Garden

Beautiful Rockey Flower Garden With Bench
fall garden
(Image credit: IngaL)

As the days shorten and the nights begin to cool, the summer garden begins to wane, but with a little planning, the metamorphosis from warm weather plantings to fall garden flowers will make way to a beautiful fall garden. 

Autumn Gardening Ideas

Gardening in autumn is a pleasure due to the cooler temps, but you need to plan ahead for truly spectacular flowering fall gardens. The following autumn gardening ideas will help you create a beautiful fall garden.

When planning for a beautiful fall garden, start early. Your foundation plantings or trees and shrubs will form the backbone of the garden and will then be embellished with fall garden flowers, either annual or perennial.

The reason you should start early is because, once fall arrives, most nurseries are getting ready to either close their doors for the season or switch over to holiday items like pumpkins and readying for Christmas tree season. Thus, your options may be limited if you wait too late in the season.

If you do not already have foundation plantings, select those with the most year-round interest. That means plants with foliage that changes color or interesting seed pods or fruit in the fall. Consider form, height, and texture along with color and interest. For instance, Kousa dogwood blooms in the early summer but by fall is covered with red, raspberry-like fruit.

Some people like to use a color theme in their flowering fall gardens. A common theme is that of the harvest which uses red, orange, and yellow. Many fall garden flowers are available in these hues. Look for bright orange and yellow nasturtiums, purple/red plumed celosia, and lemon yellow French marigolds.

Metallic colors like gold, silver, and bronze also make a pretty color palette. Bronze coleus, golden African marigolds, and artemisia ‘Silver King’ make a lovely trio. Or you might decide to go more with pinks, reds, and purples and incorporate the reddish love-lies-bleeding, purple New England aster, and some pink/purple mums when gardening in autumn.

Fall Garden Flowers

As fall approaches, many of our blooming annuals and perennials have had it. Not to worry, as there are plenty of fall garden flower options to perk a flowering fall garden up.

There are often the standard fall color annuals available in August such as celosia, mums, marigolds, and flowering kale. Some nurseries may have little else while others may still be stocking fall blooming perennials.

Look for Autumn Joy stonecrop, bluebeard, goldenrod, Joe-pye weed, and Montauk daisies. Japanese anemones bloom in USDA zones 5 to 9 from late summer to late fall.

For colorful fall shrubs, Limelight hydrangea blooms give a pop of chartreuse color to the landscape that darkens to a rosy hue as the flowers mature. When the blooms have faded, the foliage turns to a burnished red.

Spirea japonica ‘Goldmound’ is another colorful autumn gardening idea. In the spring, the foliage is a bright yellow while in the summer it is a bloom with pink blossoms and the leaves fade to a yellowish green. By the fall, the leaves transition into a rich golden yellow.

As you can see, there are many fall flowers available to brighten the autumn garden. They can be added to the landscape or planted in groupings in pots set near the front door, along a deck, or walkway. Of course, additional décors such as pumpkins, gourds, hay bales, corn stalks, and related seasonal additions will add that much more to a beautiful fall garden.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.