Last One's Standing: Autumn Photo Essay
Fall Season's Inspiration
Let's admit it, fall is not the time to be blue over the faded blooms of summer. If you cultivate your garden landscape for seasonal rhythms, you'll be inspired by the beauty certain cool weather bloomers offer. When selecting varieties, picture in your mind the warm lustrous hues of crimson giant sedums and golden euonymus in the company of burnt orange chrysanthemums. I was so inspired by my own autumn landscape this year that I felt confident enough to share it with all you plant lovers out there. The photographs of my most enduring plants were taken in early November from my Michigan yard, which by the way, lies in zone 5. My garden landscape has finally reached a certain maturity, withstanding the tests of time through many trials and errors. Some of the lasting survivors may even surprise you as much as they have amazed me! Tips included!
Golden Princess Euonymus & Azalea - This Golden Princess Euonymus is a permanent bright spot in the landscape and guaranteed winner. The azalea next to it provides a perfect companion. In the springtime, its magenta blooms compliment the Golden Princess, whereas during the fall, its leaves turned cherry pink do the trick. Tip: With little effort, both of these plant varieties flourish through the best and worst conditions presented by the northern latitudes.
Hardy Mums - My sprawling orange chrysanthemum has flourished for at least five years and keeps on growing. Tip: I attribute most of its success by being planted in a cool partially shaded spot which helps it through the hottest months of summer.
Amazing Sheffield Pink Mum - Not your average mum! It's an old fashion variety casting a super sweet fragrance which lingers yards away with the slightest breeze. It has a long lasting bloom time arising in the middle of October. Tip: Butterflies and bees love it and its great for cutting. Best of all, its super easy to take care of whether planted in partial shade or full sun.
Lasting Lavendar - The blue gray color of a lavender bush is a cool contrast to the warm hues of fall. Simply plant one in the ground then stand back and watch it grow. Tip: As long as its roots are safe from becoming waterlogged, there's not much else you need to do to it except for a little trimming every few years. Like many herbs, it's another long lasting bloomer and will bloom a second time as long as the first blooms are clipped after fading.
Barberry - I like how the deep maroon of this little shrub compliments the brilliant shades of autumn. Tip: This one is a pygmy variety and its another plant that doesn't like its roots too soggy. Consequently, it grows quite well next to the lavender bush. I've never had to trim it as it keeps its tight clumpy shape quite well.
Ornamental Grasses (Autumn must haves) No matter which ornamental grass you choose among the many varieties offered, they all provide a finely textured backdrop for the entire landscape. Even better, they may look delicate, but don't be fooled. They are very resilient and a cinch to grow.
Japenese Silver Grass - Who wouldn't be inspired when the sun shines through the plumes of this towering Japanese Silver Grass which reaches 10 to 12 feet high!
Japanese Blood Grass - Another favorite of mine is this water loving variety. It turns bright red in early summer and remains a bright spot in the landscape till the snow falls.
Fountain Grasses are another elegant choice for easy care and added garden interest. It's more of compact clumpy variety maturing with delicate purplish fronds.
Giant Sedums - Their purple cauliflower plumes turn a rich crimson shade as the warm season surrenders its heat stroke. Hardy and drought resistant, they are a gorgeous essential to the landscape! I don't trim mine until the following Spring because they add interest in winter especially when puffy snowballs form atop their round wide blossoms.
Landscape Plants With Surprising Endurance
Oh my, how I love my hydrangeas. Who doesn't, right? They delight with colors of brilliant pink, blue or white hues in summer, eventually transforming their beauty to the rich hues of autumn. Even their leaves change like the maples and oaks. Tip: Hydrate, and hydrate some more, as their name suggests. Always keep last years stems intact till the plant blooms. That way you'll know for certain which stems are ripe for clipping. Also, the longer the bloom is left on the bush in the fall, the better for dried flower arrangements. Cuttings clipped too early in the season tend to wilt. Wait for nature to dry them out for you.
Known for their bold silvery foliage and hot humid preference, they unexpectedly sustain during fall's cool down and continue to show off their silvery fluff. Tip: As you're planning, keep in mind they spread into rather large bushes and need plenty of space, otherwise, you'll be cutting them back more than you'd probably like.
During the the color gaps perennials sometimes lend, petunias are an easy annual plant that keeps on going providing color with a variety of vibrant shades. Besides being super easy to grow, they provide a sweet fragrance from Spring to the first snowfall. Tip: Keep them well watered and pinch the dead heads for continued growth through the Fall.
I have the popular "Knock Out" rose bush which is not a fancy hybrid, but it blooms over and over from late Spring until it finally surrenders to the frosty days of Winter. It's the most disease resistant of all types. Today its an 8 foot bush which began as a meager two foot plant. Tip: I dead head it regularly, even thought it's not necessary, just to keep it looking tidy. It never fails to produce more lovely flowers. Also, it only needs watering during the hottest, driest days of summer.
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Art, Design & Photography by Kathilee