Luckily for me, and for my neighbors, the state of Virginia enjoys all of the four seasons. When the cool and colorful days of autumn arrive, the hot and humid endless Washington, DC summers are just a passing thought. Other states such as California, Texas, and Florida, enjoy a year-round bounty of color. And more northern states such as Maine have a shorter summer growing season. The gardener learns to adapt to the local environment in order to maximize the color palette in the garden — especially fall colors.
What brings fall colors to your garden? We were fortunate that a previous owner of our home had planted a lovely bloodgood maple about 35 years ago. This is a gorgeous tree that is now mature with a strong form. Its leaves start out in Spring as a deep red that change to a lime green then to a deep emerald green in Summer then to a sunny yellow then to a ripe apricot then back to a mottled deep red before the leaves fall to the ground in Autumn.
I have a number of white, lavender, and deep purple butterfly bushes in the garden which start to bloom in May and then continue until the first frost. The oakleaf hydrangeas’ flowers turn from bright white to a lovely burnished pink as they decorate the shadier areas in my garden. Their leaves will eventually turn from green to yellow to red to deep purple. Gorgeous fall colors!
Perhaps you have planted some pretty daylilies that are continuing to bloom until frost. Or maybe you have some cosmos, daisies, black-eyed Susans or coneflowers that are repeat bloomers.
Popular plant choices for Autumn color in foliage or flowers in the Northeastern residential garden include:
What are your favorite plants for fall color where you live?
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