Last weekend, we were in Chicago visiting with friends and attending the Ohio State/Northwestern football game. After a delicious lunch at a nearby French restaurant, we stopped at the friends’ house to pick up food and drink for the pre-game tailgate. My friend Ruth loves to decorate for the holidays and I shared some of the photos I took with Instagram but thought I would share them with you as well.
Observing plants in one’s garden is always fascinating. I have two Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pinky Winky’. One is planted in a narrow bed on the west side of the house, along the driveway. That one only gets moisture when it rains and only gets about four hours of sun. It is still blooming prolifically but the panicles are pale pink compared to the one that is planted in an irrigated, west bed that gets full sun all day. The color of those panicles are a much deeper pink.
When our American elm died several years ago, I chose a Celebration Maple to replace it, wanting brilliant fall color. This year, the color is a bit more muted than usual as a result of the dry summer. Happily, it has retained its leaves longer than usual. That color is echoed by the fall foliage of Spiraea betulifolia ‘Glow Girl’. Yellow during the growing season, it is now a glowing orange and red. The photo is of one planted in full sun. I have another that is in partial shade and the color cannot begin to compare.
At the back of my driveway is Hibiscus ‘Heartthrob’ that has sported huge, dark red flowers during the growing season but now has golden yellow leaves. A little further back is a Rhus typhina ‘Tiger Eyes’, the roots of which have moved forward (it wants to be seen better? Ha!) Both exemplify fall color in all its glory.
Years ago, on the other side of the driveway, I planted Miscanthus sinensis ‘Purpurascens’ even though I knew that it wouldn’t display the fiery foliage seen if planted in full sun. However, I still enjoy its golden fall color.
Earlier in the year, I wrote about Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’, the PPA Plant of the Year. Mine is growing on the north side of the house where it receives morning sun and unfiltered light the rest of the day. Its leaves are always yellow. It flowered in early August but now the white flowers have become black fruits.
I love the old-fashioned, very hardy mums and one that is blooming now is Chrysanthemum ‘Bronze Elegans’ that I planted in front of my copper urn for a bit of color echo.
Which plants in your garden are giving you pleasure?
I also want to take this opportunity to remind you that fall and winter are the perfect times to be thinking about making changes in your landscape. You might start by purchasing my book Garden Renovation: Transform Your Yard into the Garden of Your Dreams. It’s available at Loganberry Books, Appletree Books, Barnes and Noble, and from Amazon. If you don’t need it, it’s also a great gift for new homeowners and relatives who need some guidance.