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Fall Color

Report From PIA – October 15

I’m always willing to get drunk on garden color, from the yellow spring daffodils to the brilliant annuals in August. In the fall, however, colorful foliage not only catches my eye, but my heart as well.

We know that in a few weeks these leaves, and all of this light-filled color, will be gone. October is about savoring what we still have.

Today I spoke “off-Cape”, as we Cape Codders say, and I offhandedly said, “My idea of winter interest is a good book and a cup of tea.” This is more or less true. Although I greatly, wholeheartedly, appreciate plants that look good in the winter, I’m not likely to choose them for this quality. The plants in my garden need to look good in other seasons as well.

The reality is that I may look out the windows in the winter, but if I’m spending a great deal of time doing this, something is seriously wrong. When I’m working, I’m supposed to be writing, speaking, on the radio, or at the garden center, right? In the cold season, I’m not working much outdoors, except when I have to shovel the snow. Exactly how many hours am I supposed to be appreciating my winter interest plants?

Autumn is a different story. I’m still in the garden, planting the lovely shrubs Bert gave me last weekend, sticking tulip bulbs into the cutting garden, and picking the late-crop vegetables. I’m able to appreciate fall foliage when I’m working outside, as well as when I’m pulling in and out of the driveway.

I mentioned earlier that October is about relishing what we have, and although this is accurate, perhaps it is more precise to say that in all seasons we should delight in our experiences, no matter what encounters the particular time of year brings.

I got this Spiraea bumalda Froebelii (Froebel Spirea) from Burt Swersey, when I was out in Eastern NY last weekend. This plant has fantastic fall color - why didn't I know about this shrub?

I got this Spiraea bumalda Froebelii (Froebel Spirea) from Burt Swersey, when I was out in Eastern NY last weekend. This plant has fantastic fall color - why didn't I know about this shrub?

And speaking of Spireas, and fall color, how about this Spiraea nipponica 'Howard's Silver'?  Also a gift from Bert.

And speaking of Spireas, and fall color, how about this Spiraea nipponica 'Howard's Silver'? Also a gift from Bert.

One Response to “Fall Color”

  1. 1
    Tim:

    I love the fall color of that Froebelii Spirea. I never knew that it got so red or even had any fall interest. Another great plant for long lasting fall color is the Ninebark ‘Summer Wine’. It turns bright red in the fall, and IMHO looks better than Burning Bush. Here is a pic of my Summer Wine Ninebark last fall when it was beginning to turn from purple to red.