October 30, 2010

Fall Textures and Color

The fine thin foliage and blueish flowers of Amsonia hubrichtii is OK during the spring and summer, but it is autumn when the species really sings. This planting is still young, but in a few years, every autumn it will transform into a cloud of golden yellow.

Living in New England, I sometimes forget that not everyone has the intense autumn color that we have, given the number of native species here like Maples and Ash trees that make Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire such tourist destinations during the month of October. Here are some shots of various plants around the property, some native to the US, and others from China, Japan, Korea and Russia.
The violet berries of Callicarpa are truly florescent. This Asian native is still rather new in most American gardens.

I planted a hedge in front of our home of Fothergilla gardenii, and although the white, fuzzy blossoms are great in the spring, again, it is autumn when the hedge becomes a traffic stopping event. I can see the hedge, even at night when I turn the corner and my headlights hit it. It virtually glows red in the distance.
Native? Yes, but the deciduous holly Ilex verticillata offers both fall foliage that is chartreuse, as well as berries.

From Japan, Enkianthus has bell-shaped flowers in the summer, but the foliage is one of the most brilliant of all of our deciduous shrubs, so bright when the sun hits it, that it almost hurts.

Amsonia hubrichtii with erica and calluna species in the background.

This natural planting which I started in our front yard, was inspired by the well-known landscape designer Piet Oudolf, where herbaceous plants and grasses are planted thickly in large sweeps showing off their various textures. Plants here are layered, with lots of seasonal interest, starting with bulbs, and ending with evergreen shrubs and fluffy grasses. I love how this is turning out, but I know that it will get better each year as the planting matures.

There are flowering perennials that bloom in the autumn, like this colony of Tricyrtis hirta, or Toad Lily, native to Japan. It begins blooming in August and is stopped, only by the heaviest of frosts in November.

Magnolia stellata foliage, even if dull mustard, looks nice with the grey tints of the fuzzy flower buds that have already formed.

1 comment :

  1. I love the glorious colours that the leaves go in Autumn, I found out the other day that they are that coulour all the year round but that the green of the chlorophyl dominates so we cannot see these other colours until the plant takes the chlorophyl back into its trunk/stems/roots to get ready for winter.


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