Sunday, September 10

Fall Color

I really need some more fall color in my garden. Some rich, warm fall color like this accidental combo of orange pyracantha berries and purple sweet potato vine.

In the red category, my Japanese bloodgrass is showing nicely, as is the 'Rhubarb' Swiss chard. The nasturtiums are starting to peter out but the pineapple sage looks like it's ready to flower any time. 'Vodka' wax begonias are still going strong.

Not counting the pyracantha berries, the only true oranges I see in the garden are asclepias tuberosa and 'Copper Sunset' nasturtiums. I have a couple of late 'Cappucino' sunflowers that are adding a rusty brown-orange as well.

In purples, the foliage is carrying the day: 'Blackie' sweet potato vine, 'Purple Knockout' salvia lyrata, 3 inherited heuchera, the Japanese maple, 'Hillside Black Beauty' cimicifuga/actaea, 'Dragon's Blood' sedum, 'Othello' ligularia and various coleus. I do have purple flowers, too: My 'May Night' salvia is STILL blooming! I'm amazed, as it's easily been flowering for 14 weeks now.

So now I'm looking around at other people's gardens and thinking about what I can add to give me some color at this time next year. Frankly, I don't much care for mums or asters, as they don't seem to carry their weight for the rest of the year. With a small garden, I require at least 3 seasons of interest--or 2 seasons of spectacular interest, plus being bearable the third season.

I'm thinking that I need to add some more colorful foliage in general, like pennisetum rubrum and more coleus. I might want to refrain from deadheading things like iris that will form interesting seedheads. I've learned that if I cut back my amaranths when they are younger, I can get a stouter multi-branched plant. That will hopefully allow me to keep them in the garden longer instead of having to clean them out when they get top-heavy and succumb to the wind.

Next year, some of the smaller pots of grasses that I planted last year--'The Blues' little bluestem, 'Hameln' pennisetum, carex buchannii, and 'Rotstrahlbush' switchgrass--should come into maturity and add more interest. They look good now, they're just so small that they don't make as much of an impact as they will at full size.

Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love the crisp air, the warm colors, the sense that the plant world is going to take a much-deserved rest after putting all of its energy into being green and growing for months on end. It might sound kind of silly to be planning for a beautiful fall garden when that's the time that most people are "putting their gardens to bed,"but I would love for my favorite season to be my favorite time to view the garden as well.


Loretta said...

Sounds beautiful! And you are right, we should always plan to plan the garden for the seasons we love the most.


Carol Michel said...

Yes, it does take some planning, and patience to get a lot of good, fall color. Love that sweet potato vine.

Stuart said...

Kim, I love your prerequisites for plant choice "I require at least 3 seasons of interest--or 2 seasons of spectacular interest, plus being bearable the third season."

Using that guide would make choosing plants considerably harder but far more rewarding.

Sigruns German Garden said...

The first plant I have never seen. But I also like this deep colours!


Annie in Austin said...

Kim, you have a lot of cool, fall color already, and the pennisetum with the burgundy leaves would go so well! Too bad it's annual, not perennial. My Mountain Ash/Sorbus used to get deep orange berries in fall, and the leaves got reddish tinges on dark green before turning reddish brown. I think some viburnums also turned that dark purpley-red that you like. [Were they Cranberry viburnum, maybe??]

You can get a lot of punch with Asters, Kim. If you chop them back severely before the 4th of July, they stay shorter, branch better & stand more upright. My 'Hella Lacy' aster made people knock on my door, wanting to know what it was.

In TX we get red-orange berries from Yaupon and Nandinas, and some of the tree leaves will color around Thanksgiving. It's not very spectacular.


Anonymous said...

I had some blue begonias this year they looked awesome. Your garden is so pretty! I'm jealous.

Unknown said...

Loretta, thank you--and thanks for stopping by my blog!

Carol if my reward for patience and planning is a garden half as beautiful as yours, it will be worth it. :)

Stuart, I wasn't so picky in my last garden, I must admit... but having .11 acres of land has made me hardcore demanding of those I am planting here. You're right, it's tough. I'm hoping for the reward part of that, too!

Sigrun the first plant with the dark leaves is the dark sweet potato vine called 'Blackie'--there are several other dark ones, but I like the leaf shape. They are annuals here but I overwinter cuttings. The orange berries underneath it are from a pyracantha that I am starting to espalier on the wall!

Annie, I know! I SO wish that burgundy pennisetum was a perennial or somehow overwinter-able! I do have a doublefile viburnum that gets a dull purpley-red, but not the vivid one that you have in mind. I'll have to check out the aster that you mentioned--the only ones I've seen around here in garden centers are the tall, floppy ones. :(

Oh, and your fall may not be spectacular, but you do get to garden year-round down there deepinthehearta! :)

Unknown said...

Hey Flowers, thanks for stopping by! It's not all pretty, trust me--I only show the good parts. lol. Those begonias sound intriguing. Do you have any pictures of them to share?

Jade L Blackwater said...

Howdy BlackswampGirl! Thanks for visiting me at Arboreality. Fall season is my favorite too, and I am starting to smell autumn in the air, so I know that it is near!

I suppose that if you really wanted to go orange crazy, you could tuck some pumpkins or gourds in around the garden fences in the spring, and let them go all crazy through the garden! A friend of mine has a great picture of a stray pumpkin that showed up one year from gardens past... the vine went up a tree, and grew a pumpkin about 6 feet off the ground up in the branches!!

I'm still new to the area, so I'm in the process learning east-coast growing plants... but if I discover any nice oranges and purples when I'm out wandering this season, I'll be sure to share!


Jessica Harwood said...

I miss Ohio autumns so much! I can live without snow, and actually enjoy the mild winters of the Southeast, but there's nothing like the changing leaves and that crisp earthy smell in the air. I have to go up to the mountains to get that around here.

Unknown said...

JLB, thanks for stopping by--and thanks for the great ideas, too. I lost my pumpkin vines to squash vine borers next year, so I definitely hope to have some next year. :)

Nelumbo, at least you can go up to the mountains to get that air--and can enjoy a warm climate in the meantime! Hope you get to welcome your daughter into the beautiful Southeast soon.

roybe said...

Have you ever tried nasturtiums in a salad Kim? they are edible and add a bit of colour.

Unknown said...

Roybe, I have tasted both the flowers and the leaves but I keep forgetting to pick some when I'm making salads at home! I like the leaves better since they have more flavor, but I've noticed that some of them are a little too horseradish-y when they get bigger.

One "edible flower" that I didn't care for at all was borage. I admit, though, that I might have been biased against it because of its scratchy leaves.

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