Autumn Textures and Contrasts

Autumn usually brings to mind bright red and orange foliage.  In reality though, it’s more complicated; colors of every hue appear in the garden at this time of year.  The dried seed heads of the native grasses, mix with chrome yellow golden rod, lavender, and purple asters.

Asclepias incarnata Ice Ballet seed head

Asclepias incarnata Ice Ballet seed head

I have a wonderful rose I picked up on a whim called Rosa ‘Balole’ which I think is Norwegian, developed by the University Of Minnesota. This little pink and white beauty burst into flower a few weeks ago and is a good combination with Hydrangea Tardiva with its flush of pale pink.

Rosa Balole

Rosa Balole

This little area of the border still looks like high summer.

Aralia elata ‘Variegata’ blooms late and has become substantial this year. It is a beautiful plant,  the creamy flowers, a halo above its variegated foliage.

Araila elata 'Variegata' - late bloomer

Araila elata ‘Variegata’ – late bloomer

The seed heads of Aesculus N. parviflora, foliage turning yellow, has a quiet beauty against the dried grasses of the fields.

Aesculus parviflora bottom left and fields of dried grasses

Aesculus parviflora bottom left and fields of dried grasses

A while ago, a friend gave me several small saplings of a tree lilac referred to locally as “Delhi Lilac”. Syringa reticulata is multi branching, unlike the standard form you find in nurseries. I love the seed heads at this time of year- chartreuse clusters cover the tree. What a great small tree it is year round, and it grows quickly too. Thank you Lillian.

seed head  syringa riictulata

seed head
Syringa reticulata

Syringa  reticulata- lilac tree

Syringa reticulata- lilac tree

Thalictrum R. Lavender Mist’s delicate leaves turned a pale yellow now, contrast nicely against the dark green foliage of the hydrangea. We are not finished yet.

Delicate yellow leaves of Thalictrum Lavender mist & Hydrangea Tardiva

Delicate yellow leaves of Thalictrum Lavender mist & Hydrangea Tardiva

Rosa glauca hips

Rosa glauca hips

Red Maple "Sunset" - still a young tree

Red Maple “Sunset” – still a young tree

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8 Responses to Autumn Textures and Contrasts

  1. James Golden says:

    Beautiful colors, and they come through so well in the photos. I’d kill for that aralia.

  2. beckynielsen says:

    Such gorgeous subtle colors with punches here and there – and I really enjoyed seeing the lilac seed heads – would not have noticed if you hadn’t highlighted them.

  3. Really lovely Don! Great plants in great combos. Michael

  4. kackie dunwoody says:

    Beautiful shots of fall color and the lilac seeds heads are wonderful. I just visited Maine and lusted over the beautiful oak leaf hydrangeas that were in full bloom, pink and white, and the size of trees. Beautiful fall up north!

    • Don Statham says:

      Hi Kackie,

      I can’t believe they can grow the Oak leaf hydrangea in Maine- Must have been at a low elevation. We can’t grow them here in the Catskills. I have a friend who has a large one in a garden but it doesn’t bloom. One of my favorite hydrangeas, discovered I believe in New Jersey.

      • Deborah Banks says:

        Along the coast of Maine it’s actually quite a bit warmer than here, zone 5 at least. The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden in Boothbay Harbor grows a lot of zone 5 shrubs and trees such as Japanese maple and oakleaf hydrangea.

      • Don Statham says:

        Deborah, I guess where ever this is water: streams, lakes ocean it’s going to be warmer. Sure wish I could grow the Oakleaf hyndrangea.

  5. Annette says:

    some very nice plants you’re sharing with us – Syringa reticulata is a real beauty, have to find out more about it, Aralia is always a good choice and as for Asclepias – had some last summer and thought the feathery seeds popping out off the pod where almost better than the flowers.

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