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This article was published 10/9/2014 (2847 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Fall is the season of high dramatics. Formerly sedate greens erupt into flaming reds while temperatures soar into the highs of summer and drop hints of winter in the course of one day.
Certainly it is a transitional season, but for some, it is the season. If autumn is your favourite season, spread that joy throughout your yard. In fact, no reason not to plan your yard specifically to look its best in the fall. And lucky you, there are lots of plants that absolutely shine in the fall.
Planning an autumn garden is a bit different than planning for other times of the year. Select plants specifically for their fall effect. Never mind what they’re doing in the spring or summer. Summer long flowers? Leaf colours? Seed heads? Doesn’t matter. We’re looking for fall-time leaf colour and fall-time flowers. As always, match the plant to the specific growing conditions.
The final size of the plant will help guide spacing and how many are needed. The colour pallet options are simple — red and gold. Go with one or combine them.
In terms of reds, the maples are the hands-down best. Until recently, Amur Maple was our most reliable maple. Fortunately a number of hardiness zone 3 cultivars have arrived and seem like they may stay. Autumn Blaze Freeman Maple is the least demanding, and at a height of 12 metres and spread of nine metres, it is most definitely a tree. Burning bush carries the name for good reason — in the fall it turns a flaming red. Dwarf Winged Burning Bush is small, about a metre by a metre, but packs a powerful punch of colour. Other plants with very respectable reds include Ohio buckeye, cotoneaster, sumac, many dogwoods, many cranberries, and the can-be-overbearing vine Virginia creeper.
In terms of golds, trees run the show, and they are all equally glorious. Paper birch, trembling aspen, and many lindens positively glow.
Kick it up a notch with some ornamental grasses or fall-flowering perennials. The grasses aren’t going to make a contribution to the colour, but they make a strong fall statement by simply being grasses in the fall.
Fall-flowering perennials? Most members of the Rudbeckia family are classics. Blanket flower is similar-looking but smaller. Many sedums look their best in the fall. And no fall garden would be complete without the beautiful native Canada goldenrod.
Carla Keast has a master’s degree in landscape architecture and is a Winnipeg-based freelance landscape designer. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Around the Yard
Carla Keast has a master’s degree in landscape architecture and is a Winnipeg-based freelance landscape designer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org