Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Color In The Garden

Fall color is peaking in my garden now, even if all of the trees are pretty much bare already.  Here are some of my favorites.

Abelia mosanenssis is developing nice yellow fall color.  Not the gorgeous orange tones every nursery is claiming, but still very nice.  I LOVE THIS SHRUB!

Acer palmatum 'Aureum' developing beautiful yellow-orange tones.  This has been a fantastic Japanese maple here in WI, regardless of the lack of care it's gotten.  Hard to find, and underused as most people seem to not care for maples with green leaves.  Hardiness, fall color, and green stems make this maple one that should be much more widely used.

 Amelanchier 'Autumn Brilliance', Cornus sericea gold leaf, and Panicum virgatum 'Northwind' all looking fantastic.  The cornus looks like it will be coloring up late this year, which is not a bad thing.

Aronia melanocarpa not quite peaking yet.  This is one of my favorite shrubs for year long interest.  White flowers in spring, dark green glossy foliage in summer, red fall color, and black berries in winter.  What more can you ask for?  This one is a large variety, they were 9' tall before I cut them to the ground last year.  They're reaching up to 3' only a year later.  'Iroquois Beauty' is a great compact variety to about 4' x 4'.

 I love witch hazels, and Hamemelis xintermedia 'Jelena' is looking absolutely fantastic, even though she's dropped most of her leaves.  Lots of buds promise a late winter show, disappointingly this is one of the few non-fragrant witch hazels, but I won't argue with orange flowers in March.

Not the best fall color of the bunch, but my still-potted Orixa japonica is showing a brownish-yellow color that looks quite nice as the leaves are still glossy.

Gaillardia 'Frenzy' still blooming its fool head off.

 One of my favorite peonies, P. ITOH Going Bananas looks GREAT spring through fall.

Another great peony, 'Little Medicine Man' showing some nice orange undertones masked by burgundy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies'

I'm a big fan of Asters.  There are a heck of a lot of them and they provide a wide range of beautiful fall colors.  One of my favorites is A. oblongifolius 'October Skies'.  I've had this variety in my garden for 4 years now and in typical perennial fasion every year is better.  It grows about 24-30" tall and is easily 36" wide.  This is one of the latest blooming Asters, and is in peak bloom as everything else is slowing down for the season.  You can see in the October picture that it will be blooming for sometime as there are still buds to open.  The only real drawback is it does need a little support so it doesn't sprawl all over the place.  I use a large grow-through hoop for this and it works great.  The hoop isn't easy to see to begin with and the plants in front of the aster make the support invisible.  There are other great varieties of this species, including a newer light pink called 'Dream of Beauty' which I'm planting this fall.

Grow-through hoop

October - Full Bloom!
September - Just starting to bloom

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Plant Geek is looking for work

Due to the economic situation, my department (and my position) are being downsized.  The garden center will still be open, and there should still be some cool plants available but I will no longer be part of the staff.  I'll be officially unemployed on Oct. 14th.  If anyone is looking for a slightly used plant geek, let me know!