October 21, 2008

New York Botanical Garden - more autumnal inspiration

Here are a few more photos from our trip to the New York Botanical Garden. Above, the giant Queen Victoria waterlillys, with pads large enough to hold a small child. The cool, autumnal weather brings out intense color in many plants. Below, I share a few plants on my wish-list since like many of us - I too forget to order plants which look best in those last few weeks of the year. There are many plants rarely seen by gardeners because they simple look boring and dull in the spring, so garden centers and retail shops rarely carry them. Go now to you local plant store and see what you can find beyond the bushel-basket mums and pumpkins - think bigger! For your fall displays. Tricyrtus, Monkshood, Japanese maples, check these out...

I was very impressed with this shrub which at first I thought was an Wiegelia, but is actually an Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope'. It's fall flowers along with old calyx's look like glossy white jasmine blossoms at first glance.

Callicarpa dichotoma 'Issai' a rarely seed hardy zone 5 shrub with amazing technocolor violet berries.

Lotus in the reflecting pool even show great color in the fall.

Japanese Toad Lily - Tricyrtus 'sinonome'
The Japanese Toad Lily looks like an orchid but is actually related to the Lily-of-the-valley. I am in love with them, and there are a few species that are truly spectacular. Mine have been in bloom since late August.

Another maple on my wish list - one of the bamboo-leaf Japanese maples, Acer palmatum 'Koto-no-ito'

Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku' or momiji, the Coral Tower maple which is generally grown for it's coral stems in winter, shows it's other side- impressive autumn color. I ordered one yesterday!

Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku', a unique must-have Japanese Maple that you won't find at your local home center. Try expanding your Japanese maple collection by ordering small ( or large) pots from sources such as FOREST FARM in North America. Every year, I buy about 5-8 new "tubes" of these expensive cultivars in small sizes, since I am 'rather young'. They arrive in a few weeks ( you can plant them in the fall, mine arrive in November), and by next summer most put on enough growth to be interesting, even at a young age. I started collecting Japanese Maples about ten years ago when I purchased my parents house, and now, those trees are nearly 9 feet tall and stunning. I have discoverd two valuable things here....first, one rarely cuts down a Japanese Maple, they just get better with age. (LIKE US...right?). And second, in our crazy financial market, they may be the best investment one can make - with trees selling for hundreds if not thousands of dollars, these trees become more valuable each year of your life. A mans wealth can be measured by how many Acer palmatum they own.

I suggest growing them in containers, on a terrace, deck, or near the front entrance as we do. Large, fiberglass frost/freeze-safe containers are now on sale everywhere ( like Target or you local high-end garden center). We always buy our large outdoor tubs in the fall saving often 60-80% off of the retail price. Japanese maples in containers are often the most commented on plants at our home, even in the winter they look impressive.

View of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is autumn at the New York Botanical Garden

White Chrysanthemums


  1. Lovely photographs and details.

    You have given me so many brilliant ideas. Thank you.

  2. Nice...wow...wonderful choices...I love the purple beauty bush...


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