Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall, Part II

Hmmm, perhaps our fall color hasn't turned out to be so mediocre after all! Sandy did take away a lot of leaves, and at first most of the color we had was from a lone sassafras, a witch hazel, early-coloring wild blueberries, and wild sweet pepperbush that line the edge of the woods and the big ditch that runs behind the big perennial bed and beside the old house site. Last week I was thinking that I needed to add more things with fall color to the garden and maybe I'd been depending on the surrounding trees too much.

We have one good-sized sassafras on the farm, a wild one that grows near the edge of the
woods. It gets quite a bit of shade but still manages a beautiful shade of caramel gold each fall.

The coastal sweet pepperbush turned a rich yellow that lasted for 3 weeks. The leaves
are sensitive to frost and some years the show gets cut short, but not this year.

Sweet pepperbush and willowleaf aster 'Miss Bessie'. The
red shrub in the background is a blueberry starting to turn.

As I had hoped, the witch hazel has been reliably colorful every fall. It's a seedling of 'Jelena' (Hamamelis x intermedia), an orange-flowered hybrid of Japanese and Chinese witch hazels. It has yellow flowers (fine with me), hangs onto its leaves while it blooms (not fine with me), but I love it faults and all. It's a beautiful tree spring summer and fall and when it blooms in late winter it's very sweetly fragrant.

Hubricht's Amsonia turns a vivid shade of gold in the fall until a freeze turns it a more subdued bronze color.

This Hubricht's/ Willowleaf hybrid hasn't turned as pure a yellow but is still lovely.

Then ~ the rugosas, many of which had set a beautiful crop of hips, began to turn color. How could I have forgetten? Gold, with some of the rubra and Hansas flushed with pink and rose. The smaller prairie rose (R. arkansana), Carolina and Virginia roses are even colored with yellow, orange, red and purple.

Some of the red maples just inside the wood's edge ~ which had been buffered from Sandy's wind by trees now stripped bare ~ started to turn wonderful colors of gold and peach and red.

This red maple on the property line managed to keep some leaves. It always turns a tangerine color. Red maples are highly variable overall. Some just turn yellow, others start out as yellow and add red, and a few are just pure blood red.

Next: The late turners.


  1. Love all the coloring around the plants. Very relaxing to the eyes. I've always enjoyed hiking during those cold and quiet days:)

  2. This post highlights all my favorite fall plants - sassafrass, sweet pepperbush, amsonias, witch hazels . . love them all, and you have a nice show going. Our fall in New England was a bust with early freezes and catastrophic storms, so I am enjoying your later fall colors just now. Even the confused red maples that can't decide what color to turn!

  3. You're lucky to be surrounded by beautiful woodland.

    The hips on roses are really something. I think as and when I next invest in a rose it'll be primarily for it's hips. I've my eye on rosa moyesii, hips like flagons.

  4. Fall is my favorite time of year and your display is one more feather in its cap. Always wanted rose hips and to Rob's point can't remember the species rose that looks like a firework spectacular.

  5. lovely yellow in your garden!
    here the storm have taken away a lot of fruit from the trees, I think Ill have to buy plums for jam this year, but spring is finally here :)



  6. Love all the burnished golds. I always find that shift to gold uplifting. Your Hubricht's Amsonia is especially stunning. Enjoy! :)

  7. You do have some fall color, I am Sassafras' biggest fan. Think that is the best fall color. I have Clethra and some are turning yellow, some aren't. It is funny some change and others don't. I had not heard them called Coastal Pepperbush. Love their summer fragrance!!

    1. We do have fall color, with some being the key word. lol I love sassafras too and wish I had a lot more of it. A couple of saplings that I purchased didn't survive, and another has shrunk to a couple of inches.

      Coastal sweet pepperbush is one of the common names, to distinguish it from mountain pepperbush which has some differences: likes well-drained locations, is only slightly fragrant, and has cinnamon-colored peeling bark like sparkleberry. Dirr calls the fall color a beautiful yellow.

      Much of my (wild) pepperbush are suckering clones.

  8. Lovely witch hazel! Glad to see that you have some beautiful fall color after all, Sweetbay.

  9. The rosehip shot was crystal clear~wonderful. I love the fall colors of witchhazel and noticed that when we have a very cold week or two the leaves often fall off 'Diana' in time to let the flowers really show off! A really lovely post Sweetbay!

  10. Your woods are beautiful! I also really like your amsonia and your witch hazel. I have a couple of witch hazels, but so far they haven't lived up to my expectations, though this year they do have nice golden fall foliage. They are young, so I hope they will bloom more as they mature.

  11. Beautiful fall colors Sweetbay! I scrolled through this post and the last one-which I somehow missed. I love the view down the lane way that leads to your house. I don't have a witch hazel, but would love to have one someday. The rose hips on your rugosas are so round and plump! Mine are tiny berries in comparison. I would consider adding rugosas roses just to have similar hips.


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