Autumn Portrait

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Albert Camus

The garden is in a state of collapse, but there are still some fantastic bursts of color to be found. Rosa spinosissima- ‘Karl Forster’, a white flowering scotch rose, is having its second flowering, the Nicotianas are still going strong as is the Actaea (Cimicifuga) ramosaJames Compton.’

Nicotianas still going strong!

But for me the real show right now is in the meadows and forests. I find I am looking past the perennial borders to the plants that have been waiting patiently backstage: the maples, oaks, wild cherry, virginia creeper, asters, goldenrod, and sumac really star this time of year. And what a year for fall color- one of the best I can remember. So often strong winds and heavy rains knock the leaves free from branches before the color peaks, but this year the trees are ablaze and it is magnificent.  After a two months of drought in June and July we finally got the rain we needed The hayed fields are emerald green against the yellows, oranges, pinks and reds of the various tree varieties.  I would like more fall color in the garden itself. With this in mind I am going to go the nursery, while the maples are in color, and pick out some of the crimson and red trees and place them in the center of my garden.

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6 Responses to Autumn Portrait

  1. Per Lofving says:

    The pumpkins add a nice shot of color too. We had a pumpkin plant volunteer in our garden this year. It provided at least a month of bright yellow-orange flowers, big funky foliage, and when all was said an done… Six plump pumpkins which now perch on the porch. I’m hoping to repeat this accident next year! Any thoughts?

    • Don Statham says:

      Hi Per,
      Yes Pumpkins & gourds are some of the easiest plants to grow! A friend just threw her old pumpkins onto her compost pile and Low & behold she had dozens of pumpkins growing out of the pile. This year she must have had about 50 large pumpkins. You could just throw the ones you have now on the pile this winter and sprinkle a bit of soil on them next spring!

  2. mkriegh says:

    How beautiful! And really nice pictures.

  3. Deborah B says:

    Gorgeous pictures! And I love the new photo in your blog banner too. I agree; the fall colors this year are wonderful – it’s a nice surprise after the ‘experts’ forecasting a dull year due to the drought.

    There are also a few perennials (and shrubs of course) that have wonderful fall colors of their own. I’ve been noticing this fall that balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) and some of the hostas have bright yellow foliage. Amsonia hubrechtii is well known for its long lasting bright gold color in fall. The variegated Physostegia turns wonderful shades of magenta when the nights turn cold; this year it’s even had time to bloom before the frost. The leaves of the short geranium Biokovo become bright red shading later into a deep dark red. Also, Miscanthus purpurascens is full of fall colors – gold, red and purple tones – and the Japanese blood grass is fiery red.

    My favorites here for fall color in shrubs are the viburnum tomentosum and hydrangea ‘Quick Fire’, and later the fothergilla. The winterberry hollies have yellow leaves studded with those bright red berries, and then when the leaves drop, the berries really catch the eye. And the witch hazels have great color. The native one (Hamamelis virginiana) is turning bright yellow now, and will start blooming soon. When its leaves drop, the pale yellow blooms will stand out for weeks. The leaves on the hybrid witch hazel Diane (H. intermedia) couldn’t be more different; they are turning many shades of red and bronze. And of course the hybrid sumac Tiger Eyes is now a flame of red and orange-gold that rivals the nearby maples.

  4. Susan Edgerton says:

    The photos are beautiful, Don. You are a talented photographer. What kind of camera do you use?

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