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Credit: Terry Guscott

The bloom may be off the perennials and the frost on the pumpkins, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo dazzling displays on your doorstep or in your garden. We’ve planted up three sample containers to demonstrate playful combinations of colour and texture – key ingredients for a successful fall planter. The low black resin urn is stuffed with purple sage, dusty millers, Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’ and a peppering of ornamental brassicas, bright-yellow pansies and tiny pumpkins. The elegant urn in the centre features an airy display of Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’, Sedum spectabile ‘Brilliant’ and Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’, with a smattering of echeverias to fill in the cracks. Our third container uses a Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ trained into a tree shape as a chic centrepiece, while the tight heads poking out all around the pot are the flower buds of Skimmia japonica ‘Rubinetta’. The balance of the effect is achieved with such annuals as colourful mums and ornamental kale. So go ahead and plant up your own masterpiece using whatever is handy – just be sure to include lots of colour, texture and a touch of fall whimsy! The following plants are hardy to the zone number indicated: Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’ – zone 3 • Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ – zone 5 • Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’ – zone 4 • Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ – zone 9 • Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’ (purple sage) – zone 7 • Sedum spectabile ‘Brilliant’ – zone 5 • Senecio cineraria ‘Silver Dust’ (dusty miller) – zone 8 • Skimmia japonica ‘Rubinetta’ – zone 7 Containers courtesy of GardenWorks and Koco Garden Centre in White Rock