Tag Archives: fall color

Harbingers of Fall Finally Show up

Tiger eyes sumac takes center stage with its fiery orange display. Eventually, this little treasure will grow five to six feet high.

Tiger eyes sumac takes center stage with its fiery orange display. Eventually, this little treasure will grow five to six feet high.

Normally, fall lasts about two weeks in Colorado.  We go from the heat of summer in August to freezing temperatures in September and October.

This year, however, is different, and the foliage is taking its time to put on its annual autumn show.

I’m seeing hints of the beauty to come, though.

Autumn brilliance serviceberry is gradually turning red against the backdrop of my neighbor's yellow honeylocust.

Autumn brilliance serviceberry is gradually turning red against the backdrop of my neighbor’s yellow honeylocust.

My tiger eyes sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’), for example, has been gracing my front yard like a burst of fire  for the past two or three weeks.  This little gem is currently only 29 inches tall, but just imagine what it will look like when it grows up.

And my Autumn Brilliance serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’) is beginning to turn its trademark red-orange color.  Eventually, this tree will grow 15 to 25 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide.  It may take 15 years or so, however, because serviceberry is a slow grower.

Sweet potato vine does double duty--first as a backdrop for my flowering container annuals and then as a nest for an autumn pumpkin.

Sweet potato vine does double duty–first as a backdrop for my flowering container annuals and then as a nest for an autumn pumpkin.

My flowering container annuals have bitten the dust, so the sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) that normally serves as the backdrop for those blossoms now has been converted to a nest for a fall pumpkin.  The vine’s gorgeous lime-green leaves make this darling a versatile companion for all kinds of plants.

Before long, my Pawnee Buttes sandcherry (Prunus besseyi ‘Pawnee Buttes’) grouncover will turn bright red, and my Regent serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Regent’) will transform itself with its rich golden hues.

Happy Autumn!

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Filed under Landscape Design, Plant Geekiness

Fall Stunners Will Make You See Red

This hedge cotoneaster generates an explosion of hues as it takes on its fall colors.

Whenever I ask landscape design clients which types of plants they like, they invariably want plants whose leaves turn red in the fall.

Fortunately there are many trees, shrubs and even perennials that will have you seeing red all autumn long.  Below is a list of 23 scarlet-foliaged favorites that perform well in Colorado.

TREES

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’).  Lovely, airy growth habit, early spring flowers, edible blue berries and unmatched fall color.

Autumn Brilliance serviceberry lives up to its name each fall with its dazzling shades of red and orange.

Autumn Blaze Maple (Acer freemanii ‘Jeffsred’).  Thrilling color that makes everyone want one.

Hot Wings Maple (Acer tartaricum ‘GarAnn’).  Yellow to red fall color.  The tree’s scarlet samaras (“helicopters”), which hang from the tree in the summer, give the plant its name.

Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum).  Showy foliage and fruit.  Watch out for its thorns, though.

TALL SHRUBS (more than 10 feet tall)

Ginnala Maple (Acer ginnala).  Can also be grown as a small multi-stemmed tree.

Nannyberry Viburnum (Viburnum lentago).  Snowy white flowers in spring followed by edible fruit.  Attracts birds and butterflies.

Velvet Cloak Purple Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Velvet Cloak’).  One of my all-time favorites because of its colorful foliage, spoon-shaped leaves and smoky blooms.  It can also be grown as a small tree.

MEDIUM SHRUBS (6-10 feet tall)

Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus).  Mature height maintainable at 8 t0 12 feet.

Burning bush is one of the first plants to turn color each fall.

Golden Currant (Ribes aureum).  Excellent for xeric gardens.

Hedge Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus).  Gorgeous foliage with black berries.  A treat for the birds.

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia).  Striking.  Use this one in protected locations.

Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia).  White flower clusters in the spring, red leaves in fall, and red fruits in fall and winter.

Redtwig Dogwood (Cornus sericea).  Offers winter interest with its bright red branches.

SHORT SHRUBS (2-5 feet tall)

Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa).  Red Chokeberry’s little brother.

Emerald Carousel®Barberry (Berberis ‘Tara’).  An under-used shrub.  Be the first on your block to plant one.

Gro-Low Sumac (Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-low’). Beautiful, tough, low-maintenance plant for large rock gardens and for covering banks, berms and tree lawns.

Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii).  A reliable old standby.

Pawnee Buttes Sand Cherry (Prunus besseyi ‘Pawnee Buttes’).  A plant is so tough that it survives being planted along highway interchanges and can be grown in elevations up to 9,000 feet.

PERENNIALS

Angelina Sedum (Sedum rupestre “Angelina’).  A vibrant sedum that turns from yellow to reddish-orange in late fall and stays that color all winter.

Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum).  Produces lovely magenta-pink flowers and attractive deep-cut leaves.

Fire Chief Coral Bells (Heuchera ‘Fire Chief’).  This striking plant boasts wine red leaves not only in the fall but throughout the growing season.

Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides).  This eye-catching groundcover displays blue flowers and copper-colored seed heads in late summer.

Leadwort offers a triple play in the fall with blue flowers, copper seed heads and red foliage.

Winter Glow Bergenia (Bergenia cordifolia ‘Winterglut’).  This evergreen, leathery-leaved groundcover provides year-round interest.

In case you’re wondering why the Autumn Purple Ash (Fraxinus americana) isn’t on the list, I have three words for you. . .Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).  This insidious insect has now been tracked as far west as Kansas, according to the US Department of Agriculture.  If it moves into Colorado, many ash trees may be killed by the borer or may have to be destroyed in an effort to slow the insect’s spread.

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