The summer is officially over and another growing season is coming to an end. As we head into fall, and eventually the drabness of winter, we look for anything that can help bring color and life to our days.
FALL COLOR AND INTEREST:
Fall color is by far one of the most amazing things nature provides us. From large trees like Oaks, Maples, and Elms, to shrubs like Fothergilla, Witchazel, and Burning Bush.
There are even perennials with great fall color like Amsonia and Plumbago. There are plants that flower in the fall like Autumn Joy Sedum, Heptacodium, and Anenome.
But what do we do once the fall color is complete and we enter the long dark days of winter?
WINTER COLOR AND INTEREST:
Evergreens bring an instant impact of color, but most of us don’t want to look at a green blob all winter. There are many evergreens that provide alternatives to the green blob. Kings Gold Chamaecyparis is a great choice. This golden needled evergreen grows roughly 4 feet wide and tall and beams a beautiful golden yellow across the landscape. The distinctive look provides a great soft texture and its low maintenance requirements makes care a cinch. Plant this shrub in well drained soil in full sun to part shade for best results.
Another evergreen that can help to break up the winter is a Blue Point Juniper. A conical blue-green large shrub or small tree, Blue Point Juniper will reach approximately 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide. The steely blue shows well as a foundation planting or a screen, but is strong enough to stand on its own. As with any other Juniper avoid crowding this plant as the needles need sun and air flow to remain viable and attractive. Plant this Juniper in sunny locations. It is drought resistant and prefers well drained soils but can adapt to a wide variety of sites. This is a great alternative to the Arborvitae that the deer love to eat.
Not an evergreen person? There are other choices for you as well. Witchhazel is a striking smaller tree with outstanding fall color but, Witchhazels also flower during the “off-season”. The Common Witchhazel is a vase shaped tree that can grow roughly 20 feet tall and wide, and is native to Missouri. Its yellow flowers emerge somewhere between October and December and are amazingly fragrant. This plant is best grown in well drain soils in full sun or part shade, but the best flowering occurs with full sun. Most other Witchhazels will flower between late January and early March. Flower colors range from bright yellow to a rusty-red or orange. They take the same growing conditions but you can often find hybrids reaching only 12-15 feet tall, making some of the hybrids easier to fit into your landscape. As with all Witchhazels the fragrance is awesome. Planting this in your landscape will surely turn heads.
Another option for gaining some color in your winter landscape is using plants that have attractive bark. The for instance has, as its name relays, bright red stems. The stems will actually get more vibrant in winter. A versatile shrub with many cultivars there is always a variety that you can work into your landscape. This is a low maintenance plant that requires very little trimming or pruning, however as stems get older and thicker they start to lose their deep red. You can avoid this by selectively removing older brown stems every year. This will keep your stems vibrant and make the plant happy by allowing more airflow.
There other choices that provide winter bark interest as well. There is a Yellow-Twig Dogwood, or Virginia Sweetspire who like the Red Twig Dogwood have colorful bark. Or plants like Paperbark Maple, or Ninebark, that have attractive peeling bark. It doesn’t have to be just flowers or foliage that gives us the show.
There is nothing like the joy of the garden, and to get the most out of your St. Louis landscape you want to enjoy it all year. Use these recommendations and do some searching because there are many more choices. With a little forethought and strategic placement you will have a 12 month show in your landscape.
Seem like too much to wrap your head around? Let Dowco help!!! We would be happy to assist you in making your yard a year round source of joy.
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