I am going to take a break from winter gardens to discuss the timely element of plants for fall colors. It is too late to plant for fall colors. It is however, a great time to observe and appreciate them and to start planning for future plantings.
One of the main principles of Japanese gardens is to show the seasonal changes. Whether it is spring flowers or fall colors, these changes are more important to display than ornamental flowers. This is a difference between Japanese gardens and others such as English gardens.
Fall is certainly the color highlight at many Japanese gardens. It can be to yours too.
So what are some of the things to think about when trying to add plants for fall color to your garden? Here are four considerations.
PLANTS FOR FALL COLOR TURN AT DIFFERENT TIMES
First off, remember different plants turn their autumn colors at different times. The green ash will turn yellow and lose all of its leaves before most maples even begin to change. While Autumn Blaze pear trees will be showing their fabulous color when most other trees are leafless. This is important to consider when thinking how great that yellow leaf tree will look next to that bright red one as those colors may never be shown at the same time.
MORE PLANTS MEANS MORE COLORS YOU CAN HAVE
Second, the more plants you have the more colors you can have and the longer the color display can last. Obsessive plant collectors rejoice, you have an excuse to give to your spouse while you can’t stop buying plants.
PICK PLANTS WITH THE BEST FALL COLORS
Third, don’t waste space on a plant that does not add fall color. My design philosophy is that I want most, if not all of the deciduous plants in the garden, to turn some attractive color in the fall. There are some plants such as most magnolias that really are duds in the fall but add so much to the spring and especially winter that they can be added. You should limit your use of plants like this though.
INCLUDE EVERGREENS IN YOUR PLANTS FOR FALL COLOR
Fourth, don’t forget green is a color. Yes this does sound like it a contradiction with what I just wrote, but what I am referring to is evergreens. Fall color without the stabilizing greens of evergreens always seems like it is missing something. See my past post for three good ones. You also of course need evergreens for your winter garden. I would also add a few non green evergreens, such as blue Colorado spruce or dwarf conifers. These not only enhance the fall garden but also add to tremendously to the winter garden. I will cover these in a future post in more depth.
Next post I will give you a list of some good common and of my favorite less common plants for fall colors.
PS THANKS TO CATHERINE FOR THE IDEA FOR THIS POST