So far we've gotten through the beauty of spring and the dog days of summer. When fall rolls around, what can you do in your garden to add color?
Fall color goes beyond the bloom. Although there are a wide variety of plants that are still blooming in the fall, this is the time of year when foliage steals the show. Seedpods and berries can add additional interest to the fall garden.
Hydrangeas. I know we talked about hydrangeas for summer color, and yes they are great for that! But did you know that some of the panicle hydrangeas have blooms that change color in the fall? Many panicle hydrangeas have creamy white blooms that will start to turn pink as the season progresses. The color change starts at the base of the flower and work it's way toward the tip until the entire blossom is a deep pink. You can have all 3 colors on the shrub at once. To learn more about these magnificent shrubs, click on this link from Monrovia: https://growbeautifully.monrovia.com/panicle-hydrangea-no-fuss-sun-loving-long-blooming-whats-not-to-love/
Caryopteris is a great fall blooming shrub. Really it starts in late summer, but unlike some of the other summer blooming shrubs that just hang on until fall, it's a strong fall bloomer. 'Worcester Gold' is among my favorite. I love the chartreuse, almost yellow leaves in contrast with the deep blue flowers. This is a compact shrub topping out at 36”.
Itea is a shrub that is unfortunately usually overlooked. Long white, lightly scented flowers appear in the summer and then as the summer slowly fades into fall, the deep green leaves turn a rich scarlet that would rival even the prettiest sugar maple! You could hardly ask for more in a plant! It tolerates sun and shade (although the red color is most brilliant when planted in the sun). It's a butterfly magnet and it's deer resistant. Really an excellent plant to be added to any garden.
Beautyberry is an interesting shrub. Most notable for it's bright purple berries in the fall. Although these berries are not edible, they remind me of the Razzle candies we used to have as kids. This shrub is loaded with purple berries in the fall from top to bottom. The birds love them and it's a real conversation piece in your garden! I have two of these in my garden in Killingworth!
Another berry-bearing shrub that I like a lot is Winterberry Holly. This is a deciduous holly that is pretty non descript and just hangs out in your garden throughout most of the season. When fall comes around, this shrub really stands out. Berries of red, orange or gold adorn this shrub in the fall. This is a dioecious shrub – which means there are males and females. The females produce the berries, but they need a male to pollinate them. Not all males will pollinate all females, so when you go to your garden center, be sure to ask for a male that will pollinate the female species you are interested in getting. One of our Branford clients has a cluster of these and it's just magnificent in autumn!
Last but not least is Abelia. This is another plant that starts to bloom in the summer. Lightly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers cover this shrub in pink and white in the summer. When fall rolls around, the leaves of Abelia 'Ruby Anniversary' shows up for the party with glossy brilliant red leaves. This is a fairly large Abeilia topping out at around 6 feet. It's deer resistant, fragrant and attractive to butterflies.
Incorporating shrubs with fall interest is a great way to keep color in your garden as summer fades into fall. By adding in shrubs that provide color with berries or brilliant fall foliage is another way you can give your garden multi-dimensional beauty.