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Main Garden Autumn interest

Autumn interest

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Written by Lucy Hardiman   
Tuesday, September 04, 2012

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2012OctNov AutumnInterest 01

Above: Acer palmatum, known as the Japanese maple, is an autumnal icon in the Northwest readily identified by its multihued regalia and structural underpinnings. With more than a thousand cultivars from which to choose, there is a Japanese maple for every garden. They adapt well to life in the ground as well as in containers on terraces and decks. Leaf colors range from many shades of green to yellow, claret and aubergine.

Below: Hot-pink fruits that open to expose vivid orange seedcases demand an audience in our region, where the spindle tree isn’t often seen in private gardens. Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cap’ prolongs the season when its foliage turns red in November, adding to the applause.

2012OctNov AutumnInterest 02

The fall garden can be as showy and vibrant as the summer spectacular. It’s all in knowing how to plant for the season.

When the garden party that is summer wanes in mid-August and September, my interest in working in the garden plummets. A sense of lassitude prevails as I sit back and enjoy the garden, allowing the errant weed to flourish and perennials to set seed. A flute of prosecco replaces the clippers that are an extension of my arm during high season. Daytime heat makes me sleepy and relaxed, while longer and cooler nights presage Mother Nature’s last hurrah.

A crescendo of color transforms the world as autumn takes the stage. Silhouetted against a backdrop of conifers, signature plants in the Northwest, deciduous trees and shrubs explode in a cacophony of color. Framed by scudding clouds and enhanced by the golden light of autumn, the foliage of Japanese and vine maples glow in shades ranging from saffron to garnet. Hybrid and native dogwoods announce their roles in costumes of crimson, eggplant and russet. Witch hazels chime in with leaves echoing their bloom colors of orange, red and yellow.