Let the rest of the world turn scarlet, gold and fiery orange but my garden always takes a little turn at this time of year and the colour that clothes my borders is pink.

I look out at the hardy chrysanthemum ‘Vagabond Prince’ whose sturdy flowers contrast with the deceptively fragile beauty of hesperantha ‘Jennifer’, paler and far more ethereal. Deceptive because this South African is a toughie that likes my heavy soil. In its native land it is a denizen of stream-sides where it is called the scarlet flag lily although it isn’t a lily at all but a member of the iris family. There is a white form too but I prefer the pale pink ‘Jennifer’ that compliments this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

Christopher Lloyd once headed a chapter with the somewhat sinister title ‘the truth about pink’ because, in a garden, it isn’t an innocent baby-pretty colour at all; it is something of a bully. It draws the eye and holds it for longer than any other colour except, perhaps, yellow and of course, it quarrels most viciously with all the sunshine and chrome yellows which is why only the palest primrose appears in my garden. All the wonderful yellow daisy flowers of late summer have been booted out by their artless and heartless rivals. I wouldn’t have in any other way of course.

Nerines have the crispest, showiest sugar pink flowers of all. Nerine bowdenii is the commonest and also the hardiest. If you don’t know it, then go and look it up because it really is one of the stars of autumn. It is rather like a pink agapanthus, except that the flowers are frillier and slightly larger and not so numerous. Its two common names, Japanese spider lily and Guernsey lily describe it well and in the case of the latter, tell of its arrival on the shores of Guernsey. Nerines are bulbous plants and its bulbs, so it is said, were washed overboard from a ship on its way from the nerine’s native South Africa.

Of course it wants that favoured place beneath a south facing wall but it is a handsome plant with strap like leaves that begin to appear just as the flowers open and it deserves its place in the sun. It looks wonderful with the silvery grey filigree of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ which also likes its place in the sun and hides the fact that the strap like leaves of the nerine only come into their own as the flowers fade.

Lowlier in stature if not in impact, are the hardy autumn cyclamens, Cyclamen hederifolium and the winter flowering Cyclamen coum. This year their seasons have merged so that the winter flowering coum has just begun although its ivy leaved companion is still flowering. Both scramble beneath the birches and if I examine the colonies of hederifolium I can see many more seed heads than flowers. Once the seed has formed the stem winds down like a spring and the seed itself is carried away by ants who eat the sugar coating and then abandon the seed. No wonder the bank is covered with cyclamens.