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Fresh Design Ideas for Fall Flowers and Autumn Garden Decor

August 12, 2022

If there were a nationwide contest for fall holiday decor,  New England would be the outright-no-questions-asked winner. This corner of the world goes halloween decor crazy (your your biggest brightest holiday light display has nothing on our 2 story skeletons, pumpkins towers, and legit collection of haunted houses, creepy old graveyards and battlefields. You can have lunch in Salem and dinner near the Lizzie borden house. We also go a little mum-crazy right about now. And while I like a good chrysanthemum, and they can create a lovely display of colors that goes rather nicely with all our vibrant trees….I often find myself trying to re-invent the fall flowers tradition a bit.  

If you are like me and feel compelled to make your autumn garden decor a little more original — here are a few of ideas for changing it up a bit.  

I’m focussing on planting as decor – specifically, fall flowers to plant in pots or the ground – and I’m partial to perennials (because I can get kinda cheap and lazy about annuals).

pomegranate punch calibrachoa as a fall flower
false solomons seal and sedum autumn joy a great fall plant combination

Snap Out of the Mum Obsession  

Look for fall color in other plants – that aren’t the standard chrysanthemums.

I’m absolutely adoring the raspberry red berries of Maianthemum racemosum (False Solomons Seal) in my garden. False Solomons seal is native to Massachusetts and I’ve always had them here – growing wild.  I have them planted near my Autumn Joy sedum (which is a perennial favorite) and some pomegranate punch calibrachoa.  I think deep pink is the new black (err orange).

Guara is another fall favorite that would bring some lovely shades of pink to this collection.

Fall planting ideas from - st johns wort and purple asters
st johns wort and festuca glauca

Play with perennials – find new fall blooming flowers combinations 

When did I plant those lavender fall flowers? I had almost forgotten the asters I installed last year until they bursted out in a purple profusion.  Much to my delight and surprise, they are brilliant companions to the remaining yellow flowers and inky black seedheads of the adjacent St Johns Wort.  

Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’  is also a lovely part of the mix — proving that shades of purple and blue are very fall fabulous.

fall squash
orange chrysanthemum

Pay Attention to Color and Try a monochrome palette

It is arguable that all the fall blooming flower colors will look good together. My mom used to tell me if it looked good in nature, it would look good in fashion (and she is right) but nonetheless, I can find fall overwhelmingly colorful with intense hot shades.

But what if you want something a little more distinctive? In that case, try limiting the color palette. Look for combinations that really play well together because they are the same but with different texture or flower size.  Is it me, or do the tones of this funky squash come to life when we put an orange mum nearby?

Single hued displays – or schemes that celebrate a tight selection of closely related colors can be tres chic.

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  1. Debbie Feely says:

    Here in California fall color is a challenge, because of the long growing season. One of my best is Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’. Mums and helenium need frequent cutting back to make it to fall before blooming. I think I need to try St. John’s Wort. And I just can’t seem to grow calibrachoa. Thanks for a look at what other’s are doing to keep the season going.

  2. Amy Murphy says:

    Thanks Rochelle! I never “do” mums, I like to plant perennials which add color to the late Fall garden : asters & anemones are great for fall color and those are just perennials, not to mention shrubs.

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