Autumn Colour In Your Garden

The Ontario countryside in the fall is a spectacularly colourful landscape that we all admire and enjoy. Many of us make special trips to view the brilliant colours of Maples and waysides adorned with Goldenrod and Asters. But where is the colour in our own garden?

In planning our gardens, we very logically begin at the beginning. Spring flowering bulbs are followed by the early flowering shrubs such as Flowering Almond, Japanese Cherries and others. We realize that these flower only for a short time and look for other shrubs and trees for continuing colour throughout the summer: Deutzia, Mock Orange, Weigela and of course, Roses.

Soon, our garden space is fully planted and only in September do we realize that we have neglected to include the late flowering shrubs and those with brilliant fall foliage. Burning Bush (Euonymus alatas) is one popular shrub that is widely used but there are many more that can enhance your garden in the fall and extend your season of colour to the fullest.

Trees for Fall Colour

Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum – orange and red

Red Maple, Acer rubrum – red

Other Maples – yellow, orange and red

Red Oak, Quercus rubra – red

Pin Oak, Q. palustris – red

Katsura, Cercidiphylum – orange-red

Ash, Fraxinus – mainly yellow

Mountain Ash, Sorbus – orange, red, yellow

Ginkgo, Ginkgo bilobam – yellow

Larch, Larix – yellow

Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia – golden

Shrubs for Fall Colour

Wayfaring Tree, Viburnum lantana – purple/bronze

Arrowwood, V. dentatum – orange/red

Serviceberry, Amelanchier- yellow/orange

Smoketree, Cotinus – orange/red

Sumac, Rhus – purple/red

Blueberry, Vaccinium – orange

Dogwood, Cornus – reds and orange

Burning Bush, Euonymus alatas – red

Spindle tree, E. europaea – red

Amur Maple, Acer ginnala – red

Hedge Maple, A. campestris – yellow

Colourful Vines

Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper (Engelman’s Ivy) are highly colourful in fall. Virginia Creeper bears a heavy crop of black berries. Bittersweet Vine has colourful seed coverings. The three-parted orange husk opens to reveal bright orange and red fruit. Only the female plant bears fruit and must be planted together with a male plant for pollination.

Shrubs with Colourful Berries

Coralberry, Symphoricarpos – purple/pink

Snowberry, S. albus – white

Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster – red

Firethorn, Pyracantha – orange/red

Holly, Ilex – red

Winterberry, I. verticillata – red

Cranberry, Viburnum – red

Redleaf Rose, Rosa glauca – red

Shrubs that Flower in the Fall

Bluebeard, Caryopteris – blue

Butterfly Bush, Buddleia – purple, blue, pink, white

PeeGee Hydrangea, Hydrangea – white/pink

Witch Hazel, Hamamelis – yellow

Perennials for Fall Colour

Sneezewort, Achillea ptarmica – white

Yarrow, A. taygetea – yellow

Monkshood, Aconitum – blue

Japanese Anemone, Anemone japonica – pink/white

Mugwort, Artemisia lactiflora – white

Italian Aster, Aster amellus – blue, purple

New England Aster, A. novae-angliae – purple, pink, white

New York Aster, A. novi-belgii – violet

(The Feast Day of St. Michael is September 29, and these asters are also called Michaelmas Daisy).

Boltonia, B. asteroids – white

Carpathian Harebell, Campanula carpatica – blue

Chrysanthemum, C. x morifolium – yellow

(Garden Chrysanthemums come in a wide variety of colours and shapes).

Coreopsis (flowering since June, will still be flowering in Sept.)

Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea – purple

Globe Thistle, Echinops – blue

Gallardia, G. x grandiflora (still flowering since June) – red and yellow

Sneezeweed, Helenium autumnale – bronze, yellow

Sunflower, Helianthus x multiflorus& H. decapetalus – yellow

Heliopsis, Heliopsis – yellow

Coralbells, Heuchera (still flowering since May) – red, pink, white

Rose Mallow, Hibiscus moscheutos – red, pink, white

Hosta Honeybellsí -blue

Hosta ëRoyal Standardí (fragrant)  - white

Lamium, L. maculatum – lilac

Gay Feather (Blazing Star), Liatrus spp. - lilac, purple, white

Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis- scarlet

Blue Cardinal Fl.,L. siphilitica – blue

Catmint, Nepeta spp. – blue

Giant Sundrop, Oenothera missourensis – yellow

Phlox, Phlox paniculata (flowering since July) – pink, white

False Dragonhead (0bedient Plant), Physostegia . – white, pink, purple

Balloon Flower,Platycodon  - blue, white

Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia –  yellow

Sedum Autumn Joy, Sedum spectabile – pink, mauve

Greek Mallow, Sidalcea  - pink

Goldenrod, Solidago – yellow

The fall flowering Goldenrod is maligned and ignored by Canadian gardeners, no doubt because it grows wild everywhere and is perhaps considered a weed. In Britain, where it is less common, Goldenrod is highly valued.

The plants listed will let you take advantage of the change of season and keep your garden interesting and colourful until the heavy frosts and first snow of winter.

Autmn garden colour


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