Last week my garden experienced a burst of late season revival and so the colour continues. A little rain and a little heat are exactly what the garden doctor prescribed and like any good provider, Mother Nature listened.
I plan my gardens so that something is always in bloom. Even in the winter I have something to look at and while it may not be as radiantly colourful as the dahlias, it provides interest nonetheless. I’m here to help you with fall colour and winter interest. Every garden should have something to catch the eye year round.
Flowers for Late Summer – Fall Colour
Asters: the variety is expansive and the colours don’t fall far behind. Asters are a staple for the monarch butterflies gearing up to fly south and the bumblebees as they prepare to hunker down for winter.
Goldenrod: Does. Not. Cause. Allergies. Seriously, the right goldenrod species is well-behaved and not going to spread rampantly about your garden. Skip the Canada goldenrod and think stiff goldenrod, showy goldenrod, and Ohio goldenrod instead. And like I said, being pollinated by insects, the pollen isn’t likely to be blowing around causing that sniffling, sneezing, itchy everything allergy face that is so common in the fall.
Echinacea: the coneflowers start mid summer and don’t stop until late fall. There are a number of hybrid varieties out there now that last even longer and provide a delectable splash of colour.
Trees and Shrubs for Late Summer – Fall Colour
Have more space? Consider planting a tree whose leaves will change colour. Gingkoes, witch hazel, and locust turn yellow; sugar maple, red maple, and oaks turn varying degrees of red and orange.
Have an in between space? Try a deciduous shrub like the red twig dogwood or arrowwood.
Shrubs that produce berries like the serviceberry are great sources of winter food for birds. I also leave my ornamental grasses, Echinacea, and other tall seed heads standing over winter to provide some nutrient-packed free seed for the birds.
Too often we forget about the winter garden. And, frankly, I get it. It’s not my favourite season either. But we can make fall more enjoyable by adding some colourful foliage, and the winter more enjoyable by providing some natural food sources for the birds who are sticking it out with us.
Over the next few weeks, go out and take a look at your gardens. Are there empty spaces where summer flowers have finished and soon the foliage will follow? Consider planting something that will come along just as your other flowers are on their way out.