Staying Power in the Fall Garden
Next week, I leave for eight days in Mexico, and I should be upstairs reviewing my packing list(s). What lenses to take, which to leave behind? Backup external hard drive or my Epson P2000 storage device? What if my tripod goes astray because I have to check it (along with most of my clothes)?
In Mexico, it will be in the 80’s, although cool in the mornings and evenings. But here, it’s truly fall. Most of the gardens I work in (including my own), are starting to pack it in for the season. Ornamental grasses and built elements look as good as ever, but many perennials are fading. Nonetheless, there are two shrubs I’ve seen recently that are either still going strong or just coming into their own. The first is Callicarpa dichotoma, or beautyberry. It looks rather nondescript during most of the growing season, with average-green leaves on arching stems. But just about now, it develops fabulous purple berries all along the branches. They’re spectacular. This is a “cut-back” shrub that will work in either sun or shade, but which produces more fruit the more sun it gets.
The second late-blooming shrub I can recommend for the fall garden is Lespedeza thunbergii, or bush clover. Like beautyberry, its stems arch over as it starts to bloom in the fall. Here’s ‘Gibraltar,’ planted in a client’s garden simply to soften the edge of an unattractive wooden retaining wall. Give this plant plenty of room! It can grow up to 10′ high in a good site. This one, unlike the beautyberry, won’t work in a shady site. There is a white version (‘Alba’) and a few other cultivars, like ‘Spilt Milk’ (variegated leaves). But at this point in the year, give me color!Explore posts in the same categories: landscape comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.