I always like to do a fall color edition. This is my favorite time of the year when the plants are in the midst of transformation. Just like spring when they come to life, fall is nearly as spectacular with all the colors. While I love the trees a lot, the shrubs and perennials also have some great color. Here are some of the most outstanding at our facility.
Viburnum molle 'Morton'
This is a plant under consideration for the Chicagoland Grows program. It grows similarly to Viburnum dentatum, or Arrowood Viburnum, but it has beautiful exfoliating bark similar to that of an Oakleaf Hydrangea. Fall colors range from dirty yellow to the red you see in the picture. All colors are on the plants at the same time. Hopefully this will be offered in the future.
This is a plant that I talk about often. To me, there are not many grasses better than this one. A drift like this under a tree makes for an artistic impression. Very little maintenance is ever required for this. We burn in March and let it go the rest of the year. No watering is ever needed and it will look this nice well into winter. In this particular planting, Echinacea pallida is mixed in to give some spring color to the area.
Viburnum x juddiiThis is an all time favorite for me. I love the fact that I can say this is the first plant I ever planted once in the industry. I planted it because the flowers in the spring are very fragrant. Later I learned of its' amazing fall color. Growing 6-10' tall and just as wide, this is a great plant for the back of the border, or somewhere near a window where you can enjoy the sweet and spicy smells in spring.
Deschampsia 'Goldtau'This has been a very difficult plant for me to photograph. The delicate seed heads are difficult to get without blurriness. This variety is nice because it is very resistant to foliar rust. Other types of Tufted Hair grass are very susceptible. I have it interplanted with Flower Carpet® Scarlet and the two look great together. You should give it a try. They look great in containers as well!
Rhus Prairie FlameOne of the best fall coloring shrubs in my opinion is the Prairie Flame Sumac. The bright reds and oranges that come from this plant are spectacular. The plant can sucker a little, but it does offer an excellent substitute to the overplanted Burning bushes you see everywhere.
One of the best fall coloring perennials around is the Narrow leaf blue star. Read on later to learn about one of her sisters. A. hubrichtii has very fine textured foliage and can come in all sorts of shades of gold in the fall. While this plant tends to look chlorotic a lot of the summer, the fall color more than makes up for it. Mixed with Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies', the blues and yellows can highlight any garden.