Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fall Color

I love fall color in the garden, and am always trying to incorporate more plants with this dimension. Here are a few that we enjoyed this fall:

Fothergilla major

Fothergilla major 'Mount Airy' - fall color

The fothergilla is definitely my favorite! Mine is still young but already looks awesome in fall. (Can't wait for 6-8 feet packed with that color!) The leaves turn quite late, after most trees are already bare.

Bergenia (Pigsqueak)

Bergenia cordifolia 'Red Beauty' - fall color

I have three different cultivars of bergenia and they all had different colored foliage in fall. This one, 'Red Beauty', had a brilliant coral-pink-red color. 'Pink Dragonfly' turned a brilliant ruby, and 'Winterglow' was more of a burgundy. (They are all located in different parts of my yard, so some of the color differences may be due to sunlight or location rather than cultivar, I'm not sure.) I enjoy all of them - for their early spring flowers and glossy green summer foliage as well as the fall reds!

Geranium wlassovianum

Geranium wlassovianum - fall color

This unusual geranium blooms in late summer, then turns gorgeous colors in very early fall (September here). However, it appears to be quite frost tender and got zapped by the first light freeze. Being in the north, I'm not particularly fond of plants that shrivel that early. But I like this little guy enough to forgive its one fault.

Geranium sanguineum var. striatum (Bloody Cranesbill)

Geranium sanguineum var. striatum - fall color

The leaves of this geranium gradually turn dark red in fall, and hold long past frost. It even has one cute little flower still on it (in mid-November), as you can see in the picture!

Geranium macrorrhizum (Bigroot Geranium)

Geranium macrorrhizum - fall color

Quite a few of the geraniums have great fall color. Geranium macrorrhizum (Bigroot geranium) also retains its large fuzzy leaves long into the cold months, and turns a rainbow of soft colors in fall.

Rosa virginiana

Rosa virginiana - fall color

This native American species rose has awesome fall color. It started out early with crazy fireworks of bright yellow and orange, then faded to this intense plum red by November. Definitely a keeper!

Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey' - fall color

This dwarf oakleaf hydrangea has chartreuse foliage in summer, followed by burgundy in fall. The color is somewhat muted, but still a wonderful transformation to observe. My poor little guy got eaten back to the base last winter and I thought it was a goner - amazingly, it's grown over two feet this year and seems to have completely recovered. (It didn't bloom though - the buds presumably got destroyed.) I love the chunky yet fancy leaf shape.

Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grapeleaf)

Mahonia aquifolium - fall color

This little shrub is an evergreen, but the very glossy, dark green leaves of summer turn a dark burgundy-brown in the cold months. The leaves are prickly and shaped somewhat like a holly, but unlike holly it does not require acidic soil (which I do not have). It will also grow happily in even a fair amount of shade and is supposedly drought tolerant.


  1. Fall color on the oakleaf hydrangea is so beautiful it makes the plant worthy of the garden even when it doesn't bloom! Lovely photos... Larry

  2. Rebecca, I love mahonia, have one like yours, is evergreen and I like its leaves after the snow melts. Fothergilla is pretty! Nice photos!

  3. Nice colour, Rebecca. Mahonia is one of those plants I have always thought I'd try one day, and that lovely shiny bronze is making me think about it again.

  4. When I first saw the Spring blooms of Fothergilla I was keen to get this shrub, now that I have seen the Autumn colour I simply must have it.

  5. Beautiful photos! I'm with Alistair on the Fothergilla front. I am also a massive fan of Geranium wlassovianum, which is sadly doing a fine impression of a cluster of dead sticks in my garden now that we have had a light frost. Still - it has other virtues and for these, I love it.


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