Garden Club: Autumn is a mosaic of all seasons
Cool autumn days are awash with a beautiful tapestry of colors, rusts, gold's, oranges, luscious greens and vibrant reds. Even as the growing season declines, a garden offers plenty of inspiration. The following are just a few of the many choices available to create your own autumn tapestry.
Introducing fall interest into your landscape, forever favorites, such as chrysanthemums and asters blooming from late summer into fall are available in many flower forms, colors, plant sizes and growth habits are perfect flower choices. Trees are the centerpiece of your landscape as the temperatures drop and the days get shorter. Japanese maples are true show-stoppers. A gentle bronze in summer, they turn heads in fall as they set the landscape ablaze with their fiery crimson leaves, not to be out done Dogwoods have spectacular leaves that turn brilliant colors of yellow, red and pink in the fall.
Decorative red fruit in knoblike clusters ripen in the late summer and early fall to a bright red or occasionally yellow with a rosy blush. They are an important food source for dozens of species of birds. If you have never grown ornamental grasses, fall might motivate you to do so. The foliage of blue fescue and blue oat grass remain vibrant, adding contrast to more traditional hues.
Seasonal stunners like Japanese silver grass have showy seed heads that sway in the breeze. When sunlight hits these plants they add color and texture to the fall border. Oakleaf Hydrangea with handsome, deeply lobed leaves that resemble those of oaks put's on a brilliant display in the fall. It is hard to top the red, yellow and wine-colored foliage and large pink-bronze blooms. Echinacea (Coneflower) with their daisy-like flowers bloom from the summer months until late fall. The generic name is derived from a Greek word meaning "sea urchin" due to the spiny central disk.
After the petal drop, the large black center forms a cone-shaped seed head which provides winter interest and seeds for birds to feed on. Sedums not only offer dynamic beauty from summer to fall, but also provide a popular stage for butterflies. And nothing takes the stage this time of year like the classic perennial border sedum, Autumn Joy. The plant is as dependable and adaptable as they come. Its flowers bloom from August to November; they open a deep pink and mature to a copper befitting autumn.
Add a brilliant splash of color to your autumn landscape with witch hazels. These shrubs feature fantastic fall color in shades of gold, orange and red. They are grown for its spidery flowers, spicy fragrance and brightly colored autumn foliage. Witch hazel is one of the last shrubs to flower in the fall. In England witch hazel twigs were used as divining rods, this may have influenced the "witch" part of the name. Fothergilla is a shade garden standout long after its spiky spring flowers have finished blooming. Known for its honey-sweet bushy blooms, fiery fall foliage and open air habit. The leathery leaves have lighter undersides and turn to shades of red, orange and bright yellow.
Diane Cleland is a Corning resident and member of the Red Bluff Garden Club, which is affiliated with Cascade District Garden Club; California Garden Clubs, Inc.; Pacific Region Garden Clubs and national Garden Clubs.