Thursday, November 01, 2007


In the craziness of Spring and Summer our thoughts when visiting the local nurseries are focused on the beautiful colour. We walk in, being greeted with drifts of bountiful floral displays, rows of new starts promising immediate flowers in weeks and impulse treasures waiting for purchase. It's hard not to be mesmerized by all the perennials and annuals in full bloom ready to be added to our gardens for instant gratification. I love going to nurseries at this time of year and relish in all the excitement, really enjoying all the sights and sounds. In all this hustle and bustle though, it easy to forget about what's going to be of interest when all the flowers are gone. What's going to add that little something special towards the Autumn months. Sure there are some fall bloomers like Japanese Anemones, reblooming Bearded Iris, Phygelius, and others. But what is going to add that punch to our often tired retiring borders?

This is where Autumn shrubs come in to play. Few of us would even consider a Euonymus alatus (Burning bush) in Spring unless we saw what it colours up to in Fall. And what about Fothergillia? It's a attractive shrubs that has pretty little honey scented flowers. A very nice plant, but when Fall comes around. Wow! The leaves come on fire. This list of the Autumn treasures can go on and on.

I often feel that Fall shrubs come in more colour combination then trees. I look around in my own yard and that of the neighborhood and see so much variety. Maybe it's because the shrubs are more at eye level. But in any case, you can really find a leaf colour in every shade of an Autumn sunset.

The colour variations can be incredible. Even on one plant. Take the Rose Glow Barberry pictures above. At it's peak in natures transformation it has leaves in lemon yellows and pumpkin oranges, peaches and apricots, melons and apples reds. Nature deliciously paints in the most amazing colours.

So next time you are at your local nurseries or garden centers in Spring and Summer, after you have selected some annuals and perennials. Remember that some of those basic, plain Jane, green foliage shrubs, looking rather drab and ordinary, often turn into brilliant stars in Autumn.


Shady Gardener said...

What beautiful photographs. Or, I should say, photographs of beautiful shrubbery! You are so right. It is easy to get excited when you see the fall color. The poor Pagoda Dogwood I just planted, however, was purchased leafless. (But hopefully NOT lifeless!) ha.

It will be fun to see it through all the seasons next year!

It is easy to tell you enjoy the Fall season! It would be hard not to, wouldn't it.

LostRoses said...

You're so right, Bob. But many of us with established gardens often can't find room for some of the gorgeous autumn-color shrubs. So we just succumb to instant gratification!

Laurie & Chris said...

Love all of your fall pictures and all of the great info on the shrubs. The colors are great!!

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Lovely pictures Bob, so colorful. I love the fall more and more! You really capture the warm colors, nice work / Tyra in Vaxholm

Dirty Fingernails said...

isn't that the truth about shrubs.. I look for that myself. My Lady in Red Hydrangea is one that has great fall foliage.

Catherine said...

Beautiful color's indeed! And beautiful photo's! Your so right we all want instant gratification! I think after gardening for a while you catch on to wanting color in all season' does take a while though..I have several burning bushe's and barberry's ~all gifts years ago from my mother~in~law who gave me the gardening bug, she knew ..didn't she..:)
Great post again!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Excellent advice Bob as your pics illustrate so well. I love Barberry too and have a whole hedge of them. Such great plants for all year round.

lisa said...

Sammy Hagar has a song, I think with Montrose, "plain Jane, you're driving me insane" (in a good way)....happens all the time..;-) LOVE the colors..."Rose Glow" is one of my favorites!