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Planning the Fall Garden

With good design, your landscape and gardens can still be interesting this fall and into winter. Thoughtful plant selection and bed design will turn an unforgettable fall landscape into one that shines.

Shrubs: Boxwoods and Taxus are great, we use them often, especially when their tidy nature lends themselves well to a formal design. But if your garden is more relaxed, perhaps one that leans towards the natural look, incorporate shrubs and understory trees with a more relaxed form as well as interesting bark and great fall color to extend your gardens’ visual appeal into fall and winter. 

Plant for Pollinators: As it would happen, many of our favorite pollinator plants have great winter interest. Plants such as coneflowers and Aslepia tuberosa attract pollinators with their flowers and edible leaves. Come fall, echinacea flowers transition to seed heads, coveted by foraging birds and asclepia offers up interesting seed pods. Summer flowers may fade, but seed heads, seed pods and the fall colors of gold and copper offer visual interest to the garden.

Grasses: Before you protest, we don’t mean stands of grasses that require a crew with power tools for spring cut-back. No, we are thinking of those grasses that can be cut with a single snip of the handsheers. When room permits (and can’t we always make room for more plants?) we like to incorporate a variety of grasses, some with brilliant fall color such as Muhly Grass, or the upright shape of the golden Karl Foerster and the graceful round form of the Redhead grass or Hameln. They’re gorgeous with a soft dusting of frost or ice and in the fall’s gentle breezes their movement of fall colors is striking.

Replace Honeysuckle: With so many wonderful plants to choose from, why would we allow an invasive, horribly unattractive shrub to take up valuable real estate in our landscape? One easy way to add fall and winter interest in the garden is to swap the uninspiring honeysuckle plant with shrubs with great bark, architectural form and fall foliage. Shrubs and understory trees with nutrient rich seeds and berries are also available. 

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