Texture in the Autumn Garden

Our first snow fall is quickly melting and I have been reflecting on some of the great fall plants that add texture and color to the garden in autumn. A gardening friend sent me a few photos of her fall garden.  A mass of winterberry shrubs covered in red berries gave me a pang of envy. I planted Winterberry at least 5 years ago and my shrubs hardly produce any red fruit and the few berries that do come are stripped by birds before I even have time to see them!  That said, I am inspired to try again and this time I will plant this shrub in a sunnier location that has better drainage.  The same friend also sent a photo of her Hamamelis Virginiana (witch hazel) which is much older specimen than the one I have. I do see a few flowers on my plant early in fall, but nothing compared to my friend’s 10 years old specimen. It gives me hope that my witch hazel will look glorious one day. In fact, I am so inspired I think I will plant another one. I planted a small Cercidiphyllum- Katsura tree, this fall and was glad to see a photo of one that is older. The texture of the yellow leaves turning a sherbet color will be a nice bonus to the garden. This tree has been on my wish list for years! Patience is not a virtue in gardening -it is a necessity.

Leaves still on shrubs and trees- first snow of the season!

Winterberry loaded down with fruit- before snow storm.

Witch hazel in flower in fall

Katsura tree- fall color

Detail of leaves of the Katsura tree

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5 Responses to Texture in the Autumn Garden

  1. Per Lofving says:

    In northern New Jersey last weekend’s storm caused a sudden transformation in our garden – from vertical to horizontal. 10 inches of wet heavy snow flattened the younger plants and shrubs, which thanks to their flexibility now seem to be regaining their normal posture. However the older trees are permanently changed – many, many lost large branches, including a colonial era sugar maple now looking sad and undignified, surrounded by at least a quarter of its canopy twisted and torn on the ground. Thanks for reminding us about patience; it will be much needed here as we collect branches and plan for some new tree planting in the spring. Per

    • Don Statham says:


      So sorry to hear about your poor trees! I have spent so many spring days picking up downed limbs from some very large poplars and silver maples. The recent ice storms and freak snowstorms are killers for trees especially when they are still in leaf!

      Check out that Katsura tree- as a possible tree to plant next spring! I am crazy about it!

  2. Deborah Banks says:

    Thanks for featuring my favorite tree! I’d like to add that the leaves have a wonderful spicy sweet fragrance this time of year, when they are falling, so strong you can smell it up the road a piece. And a small warning: this is a moderate to fast growing tree that will get BIG. I have seen sites that called it a shrub or small tree, and the heart-shaped leaves suggestive of redbuds may also lend this impression. The reality is that it will be 40′ to 60′ in height with a spread of 30 to 50′. !!!

    • Don Statham says:

      Thanks for your comments about the sweet spicy smell. Just another reason to love this tree. When I look at photos of mature ones they look to be multi- stemmed. The little tree I bought is a single trunk. Wondering if it will stay that way or will more trunks emerge! Best Don

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