Autumn flowers are like autumn leaves - often brightly coloured in golds and reds - but for different reasons. The colourful leaves of deciduous plants are letting go, having fulfilled their function. Autumn flowers are active, producing pollen, attracting bees, setting seeds.
A honeybee at work on helenium flowers. Heleniums are often part of colourful autumn displays. Originally from North America, they were called swamp sunflower or sneezewort (quite a few flowers have this connection, but this time it is not because of the effect of their pollen but because the leaves were used to make snuff, apparently). There are a good number of garden cultivars in gold and red colours. I haven't grown heleniums, but they are said to be easy to grow and disease resistant, preferring rich moist soil. But despite the dry conditions they were putting on a great display in the Wellington Botanical Gardens. And the bee was busy appreciating them too.