With fall on the horizon, plants and trees are getting ready to glow with golden leaves, brought on by dropping temperatures and diminishing sunlight. Dogwoods, sugar maples, sumacs, Washington Hawthorne’s, and other deciduous varieties are ready to explode with bursts of color everywhere from the Rockies, the Appalachians, and places in between.
The wondrous transformation from the lush green hues of summer to vibrant, radiant fall is nature’s gift to leaf peepers and all lovers of the outdoors. Avid gardeners often have their own personal color hues created entirely from their preferences and loving labor. Fall gardening can truly be an art form when you plant fall crocuses, “Pink Crush” New England asters, and more.
Protect those hardy perennials and other plantings you’ve put into the nutrition-enriched prepared soil for fall and winter color. Herbivores and omnivores are hungrier when food sources are scarce.
Consider a deer fence installation to assure the safety of your physical, financial, and emotional investment which pleases the artist within and celebrates this wondrous season of bounty and beauty.
The Whimsical Autumn Crocus
The Autumn Crocus is actually a species of the lily family. This plant will sprout leaves in the spring which then become dormant in the summer. In the fall, its delicate purple flowers bloom to perfection. Also known as meadow saffron and colchicum, the flowers are large, often achieving 5 inches in height. Their delicate beauty creates a stunning contrast to the flaming reds, and golden hues of other leaves. Keep in mind that if consumed, this beautiful plant is toxic to humans.
The “Autumn Fire” Sedum
This tall flowering plant will extend the time your garden attracts bees and butterflies from summer and well into the fall. Growing up to 30” in height, the Autumn Fire is a better version than its predecessor, the Autumn Joy because it has thicker leaves and more vibrant pink, red and red bronze blossoms. Buds appear during the summer months and gradually open into blooms with many visually appealing color changes in the process.
The Spirited Bluebeard
Violet or true-blue colored blooms provide eye-catching color amid gold leaves on this shrub that is a beacon to pollinators. Also called Sunshine Blue Caryopteris, the plant is both deer and drought-resistant and grows to 24” and 3 feet wide.
The Beloved Hearty Garden Mums
Ablaze with hues of russet, bronze, burgundy, orange, and gold, the impressively hearty mum is what most people think of when they envision fall color. Set elegantly among gourds, garden mums cast an enamoring spell over the landscape.
The Stoic Oakleaf Hydrangea
At 6 to 8 feet tall, the oakleaf hydrangea spreads to form a small grove. Its leaves convey a sense of fiery passion for summer and fall with flowers in a dusky shade of pink. This small tree/shrub works well as a hedgerow and offers a muted pastel bounty of flowers that range in color from fragile parchment to faded rose.
The Brilliant Tendrils of the Sumac
Want to add color or a boundary line to your garden perimeter? This small tree grows to six feet tall and needs room to spread out. Enjoy the intense orange, red, and yellow on the fingerlike leaves of this hearty yet delicate plant, with clusters of crimson berries that last throughout the winter.
The Velvety Charm of the Pansy
With over 500 species of pansy, there are sure to be several dozen varieties that suit your fall garden preferences. Rising to popularity in the 19th century, pansies are very hardy and fast growing. These velvety and heart-shaped, delicate, flat flowers are available in bright yellow, oranges, vivid purples, pinks, crimson, white and bi-colored varieties, which add great visual interest. Planted close together they create an exquisite boarder which showcases all of your other plantings for an eye-candy impact.
The Subtle Rustic Allure of Dwarf Fothergilla
Plant this shrub to achieve a cornucopia of fall shades including orange, red, gold, and purple. Branches sprout white blossoms and attract several pollinating insects. Plant it in partial shade to full sun for the best, most colorful results this autumn.
The Robustly Rich Hues of the Gingko Tree
This tree dates back to the age of the dinosaurs and makes for excellent autumn shade. Growing to 50-80 feet tall, you’ll need ample space for this quiet soldier. When purchasing, be sure to get the male of the species as the female produces fruit that is less than fragrant. It provides a luxurious golden hue come fall.
All it takes is a bit of planning, patience, and love to create a tapestry of colors in your fall garden that will please not only you and your family, but pollinators and birds, as well. Many species of annual, perennials and shrubs will bloom late into fall and early winter, adding delight, texture, color and yes, shine to your garden. Don’t forget to plant these late bloomers at least six weeks before the estimated first freeze in your planting hardiness zone. The roots will permeate the soil, deepen and everything will thrive. Enjoy the season, and the results of your physical, mental and esthetic efforts.