The last of the autumn flowers

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At this time of year, despite it being a beautiful autumn (with some moments like an August summer's day), I'm in bulb mode. In fact a large part of me longs for a good hard frost so that everything can be cut back and the garden given its sharp winter coat of raked black soil and potted up pots.

This year I decided we would try chrysanthemums for the first time and chose the Jewel chrysanthemum collection. They arrived as plugs and I will always purchase them from now on as they are so beautiful. The first one to open is a lovely rooster feather orange.

Cosmos 'Rubenza' is my favourite cosmos. It's not as brassy as it's larger growing cousins but it is the best for a sultry, claret coloured flower. It's still flowering now!

We have caper spurge in our front garden and I love it for the spring foliage it gives. The seeds are encased in balloon like green buds in sets of 3 so we have been picking them all summer so that we have a good amount of seed to scatter onto mole hills during walks  - we also do this with yellow rattle seed. It's the best time of year to sow yellow rattle. This wildflower meadow creator needs a frost to make it germinate well.

We still have nasturtiums flowering at full pelt too – they are underestimated cut flowers especially at this time of year. We have been collecting the seeds from these too. Most have been from the variety 'Black Velvet' – hopefully the cross-pollinated seed will result in some interested dark plums and orange bloomers next year.

I'm addicted to having bulb lasagnes in a lot of our pots, a brilliant way to maximise the impact of bulbs in a small space. One I am doing along the main path of our front garden consists of purple Crocus grandiflora, Narcissus 'Rip van Winkle', Hyacinth 'Woodstock' and Tulips 'Blue Parrot' and 'Orange Favourite'. So that should give us pots of colour from match into May!

The tulip bulbs from last year we dried out and are sorting though them to re-plant. The bulbs that are big enough to bloom again this spring – the little offsets, while it seems nasty to discard, will not have enough energy in them to form flowers so all you will get is a leaf. That's the disadvantage to having a small space as bulbs we have to empty out of the pots each year as we need to set dahlias and annuals for summer. We will set last years bulbs that are plump enough together. We should get a good second show as it is a mix of all sorts of lovelies. A good lot will be sports of the Brandy snap tulip mix coupled with the Venetian collection. This year I've gone back to my favourite group of tulips to plant en mass the parrot group – all the colour of parrots but without the harsh screams and mess!

Thanks for reading,