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Autumn is here and it’s the perfect time to make the most of all nature has to offer before winter arrives. In this article we look at some of the beautiful flower choices that thrive in autumn and the simple steps you can follow in putting together your own autumn flower arrangement.

Flowers are beautiful all through the seasons and autumn is no exception. The autumn colours of deep reds, mustard yellows, earthy browns and burnt oranges bring a richness and warmth which instantly make us feel ready to embrace the colder weather and something as simple as arranging flowers is a great way to unwind and get creative.

Below are some of our favourite choices of autumn flowers:

  • Sunflowers: Sunflowers make a statement in any setting and, while they are synonymous with sunshine and summer days, they bloom late enough in the season to be considered autumn flowers too. These cheery blooms unfurl their gorgeous yellow petals between July and September and their bright faces and vibrant colours make them the perfect choice for an autumn flower arrangement. Their dried seed heads can also add an interesting shape to a display.
  • Dahlias: The national flower of Mexico, the sweet and near-symmetrical dahlias make a statement in any floral display with their many rows of delicate petals. With a wide array of colours to choose from, dahlias can bloom anytime between late June and early December. They come in a range of shapes and sizes - from the fun, ball-shaped flowers that stand proud atop their stems to those with layer upon layer of fanned out petals.
  • Celosias: Vibrant in colour and fluffy in appearance, celosias are a truly striking autumn flower. Celosias bloom in late summer and early autumn and you'll find them in a range of autumnal shades, from fiery oranges to bold maroons that easily compete with the colours of the changing leaves.
  • Chrysanthemums: Chrysanthemums are a year-round staple but in autumn these flowers really come into their own with warming shades of orange, burgundy and yellow to enjoy in your flower arrangements. These flowers aren’t just a beautiful bloom either as they also boast medicinal purposes and when drunk in tea form are believed to reduce high blood pressure and act as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Chinese lanterns: These unusual autumn plants are firm favourites once the season changes, with delicate orange fruit cases that resemble tiny hanging pumpkins. Chinese lanterns typically flower between July and October and, as they don’t lose their colouring, can be used to add a permanent pop of colour to your home.
  • Hydrangeas: Hydrangeas are deciduous, hardy shrubs with striking flower heads that come in a range of shapes, from large balls to cones. These flowers are great for autumn arrangements, lasting for months from fresh blooms to dried heads. The colour of hydrangeas depend on the soil they are planted in. Acidic soils produce blue blooms, alkaline will turn petals pink and white varieties emerge in neutral to alkaline soils.
  • Ornamental cabbages: Ornamental cabbages are truly unique and always eye-catching, typically with pink or cream centres and green surrounding leaves. They are late autumn bloomers and grow on long stalks, making them ideal for arrangements supported by dark green foliage and delicate blooms such as gypsophila.
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Chinese lanterns

There are usually three types of flowers in most flower arrangements: focal, mass and filler flowers and one of the best parts about autumn flower arranging is the amazing flexibility. While there are plenty of fresh autumn flowers to be had, you can also add things like seed heads, twigs, pine cones, acorns, berries and wheat to give your arrangement that autumn harvest look.

Pumpkins are also useful for a seasonal display of autumn flowers. Large pumpkins can be hollowed out and used as a vessel for arrangements of, say, dahlias and chrysanthemums.

When it comes to creating your flower arrangement, there really are no rules but here are some basic steps to help get you started:

  1. Start with the foliage first. The foliage will serve as the framework for the piece and you can establish the shape of the arrangement by using different types of foliage.
  2. Insert the larger focal flowers before the arrangement becomes too full. Working in groups of three to five, nestle these flowers into the foliage base.
  3. Layer in a collection of supporting mass and filler flowers (smaller than the focal ones) and keep turning the vase as you’re adding the flowers to make sure the arrangement is well-balanced. Vary the height of the flowers. Air and space can create as big an impact as a focal flower – arrangements don’t always need to be packed full or perfectly round.
  4. Add textural elements such as twigs, berries, acorns or cones to give the arrangement movement and interest. For the finishing touch, tuck in a few stems of an airy plant such as pampas grass to fill out the arrangement.
  5. You can also look for flower arrangements online to get more ideas from the professionals and use these to inspire your own creations.
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Here are a few tips to help keep your autumn flower arrangement looking fresh and lasting longer:

  • Recut the stems and remove excess foliage
  • Harden the flowers by setting them in warm water in a cool place
  • Use flower food if available
  • Keep the arrangement in a cool place, avoiding drafts, hot spots and television sets
  • Check the water level daily and change the water every few days

You can change lives with gardening

Rebecca H potting up Charlie Garner 2019 3