As the days shorten, color and interest in the garden come from new sources: the leaves of some plants acquire fiery tints, and fruits and seedheads replace many flowers. Some blooms are at their best during fall, too.
Trees and shrubs, such as Japanese maples (Acer japonicum) and Rhus, produce autumnal tints that provide a spectacular backdrop to other plantings. The colored leaves remain eye-catching once they have fallen, especially around the flowers of late-blooming perennials and bulbs, such as Cyclamen.
Some summer-flowering perennials, such as Echinops, Allium, Agapanthus, and many grasses, produce attractive seedheads that last well into winter. They look particularly striking in the slanting fall light, decorated with cobwebs or, later, frost.
Many shrubs and trees produce handsome, long-lasting fruits at this time of year; certain roses, in particular, carry ruby hips, as long as they are not pruned in fall. Consider leaving other plants unpruned, such as Viburnum and Sorbus, to help provide birds with food.
Some perennials, such as Aster, Chrysanthemum, Cyclamen, and Saxifraga fortunei, will produce vibrant flowers until the first hard frost, and look wonderful in fall borders. They can also be useful in containers to inject color into areas of the garden that are of little interest at this time of the year.