Posts tagged #Fall colour
Leaves are swirling, more on the ground then the trees…but autumn glory is still all around! Barberry and burning bush berries are plumping. Rosehips are ripening. Sedum and calendula display glorious bloom despite hard frosts. Darkened bark, and frost-killed leaves offer sharp contrast. Some brave and hardy perennials, like sedum angelina, still glow green.
The miraculous change from bodacious bloom to bountiful fruit! I would be happy to grow a creeping pumpkin vine just for the glamorous golden blossoms, but am grateful to also get my sweet pie pumpkins. See more pumpkins by clicking here.
This fall the burning bushes are a riot of flaming berries, such that the slathered branches glow on despite losing their leaves. Rows of glittering cerise are beaded along the barberries. European snowballs are laden with ripe clusters of juicy red. Yews are speckled with tender red bells, especially festive against lively green needles. Plump and jolly berries nestle amongst the sprawling branches of cotoneaster. And for a change from red, lustrous lavender-mauve bejewels the bare branches of beautyberry. Note to self – next year I would like to add the vivacious orange of bittersweet berries, and the gentle white berry clumps of snow berry.
Sedum is the queen of fall colour for perennials – as other perennials fade, sedum makes merry to enhance the fall fanfare. Its broad, voluptuous bloom clusters are in fat green bud over the summer, opening to exuberant shades of pink, rose, auburn or white, then aging to antique shades of wine and copper as fall advances. This super easy perennial is refuted as one of the easiest perennials to grow, making my list of garden staples. It loves full sun and is drought tolerant with fleshy, succulent, ‘water storing’ leaves. Pinching the stems back about half way in May will make for bushier plants that are less likely to splay or flop. And you can choose to push those pinched stems into workable soil if you want them to take root. There are many delightful varieties: Autumn Joy is ever popular with pink blooms aging to copper, Purple Emperor has striking deep purple leaves and stems, Matrona has maroon foliage with dusky pink blooms, and Frosty Morn gives you sparkling white to pale pink blooms with variegated leaves. There are about 600 different species of sedum – above are the taller, upright varieties, and you can read more about ground cover sedums by clicking here.
Technical stuff – Sedum/stonecrop, hardy perennial to Zone 3 or 4 (varies by variety so check labels, some Zone 2 or 5), height of about 12”– 24”, spread of 18” – 24”, prefers full sun and well-drained soil but will tolerate most soils and a little shade, attractive buds in summer opening to bloom in late summer and into fall.
The morning meadow has a haze of swirling fog, steaming as it is warmed by the sun. The spicy scent of damp foliage, rotting leaves and aging blooms encourages deep satisfying breaths. The dew hangs in heavy droplets on the grasses. Ripe red leaves glisten in the early morn glow. Crystal blue sky highlights the festive branches. It all reminds me that we live in a gloriously gorgeous country. It can be easy to forget. Look around and notice the natural gardens with magnificent trees, native shrubs, meadows loaded with grasses and wildflowers, ferns, berries. Nature is the spectacular garden for everyone. And in the autumn, we Canadians are the envy of many in the world, with a colour show that is craved and never forgotten by any visitor.
While many perennials fade into the fall, others come into their glory. An inspiring example of this is chinese lanterns, which are ripening now. I adore how these simple insignificant white blossoms fold in on themselves to evolve and swell into luminous lanterns, changing from green to gold to vivid orange and red, and then drying into lacy brown. This year I planted a half barrel with these vigorous spreaders, so I can have an extra bunch of decorating punch next fall.
Click here for more detailed information on chinese lanterns.
To the side of our property there is a meadow, and at this time of year it is aglow with swaying drifts of colour. Radiant goldenrod blazes in its reflection of the sun. Wild asters in regal purple have rusty centers with bees buzzing. And there are more asters with dainty sprays of white. Queen anne’s lace has been blooming for weeks without a rest. Its intricate circles of creamy white frisk about in the breeze. Wildflowers that thrive on their own with no care, and then bestow such sumptuous splendour!
There is great allure to the vivid orange globes of Chinese lanterns. It is a somewhat bushy perennial with simple but lush green leaves, and small white flowers in mid-summer. Those flowers grow into green vessels, that ripen to the orange ‘lanterns’ which house a bright orange, cherry tomato-like fruit inside. Once the lanterns have ripened to orange, you can cut the stems to dry, and they will hold their orange colour for 2+ years. This perennial is super easy to grow - too easy, as it is often considered invasive, though less so in part shade and average to poor soil. Consider a small patch separate from your mixed perennials - with a mix of spring bulbs and phlox or yellow loosestrife, you would have interest through the season. They would also work in a half barrel or large planter.
Technical stuff – Chinese lanterns, or physalis alkekengi, an easy, hardy perennial for sun to part shade, aggressive spreading habit, small white blooms in mid-summer with orange ‘lanterns’ developing for September, grows 24-35” tall.
The only thing that wins spring over fall as my fave season, is that summer follows it versus winter. Fall is peaceful. Nestling in, settling in, tucking in…harvesting, preserving, baking. The garden becomes burnished, rusty, antiqued, sleepy. And of course glorious colour. The classics – sumac, sugar or red maple, burning bush, virginia creeper, and little treasures like sedum, blue star, gourds and chinese lanterns.