The dog days of summer are over. Yes, I think we had a few nice days and now the Fall switch has been thrown and its time to wave goodbye to our garden and tuck into our cozy houses and the new season of Amazing Race and all those other lovely indoor pursuits. Not so fast!!!
There are amazing things going on in the garden. Fall is actually my favorite season. The electric colours, the earthy smells (can you tell I live near farmland), the frosty pictures painted by Ma Nature each morning, apples, pumpkin pie, Steveston Pizza Co’s wasabi scented terriyaki chicken pizza with a Stovetop stuffing chaser, hey you have your Thanksgiving tradition and I have mine.
The trees, shrubs and perennials have been quietly sitting in the background, while roses, peonys, hibiscus and all the other glorious blooms do their thing. Now, they have finally stepped into the front and centre. I’ll share with you my fab five fall picks in the shrub arena; I look forward to them every year…
Callicarpa bodinieri, my Mother commented a couple of years ago after taking a good long look at those spectacular metallic purple berries on the Callicarpa in my front garden and asked me when I managed to come up with the time to tie those fake berries on my shrub…and then added if I had all of that extra time, I might want to get to folding some of the laundry. Ha Ha. Seriously, they are always spectacular and last quite a while in a bouquet. The smallish purple blossoms in the summer have quite a lovely fragrance and seem to be rather attractive to honeybees and other pollinators. Callicarpa is a really easy to live with plant, preferring humic, well drained soil in a sunny site, but is rather forgiving if you have a less than perfect spot for it.
Enkianthus are actually rather wonderful year round, but I particularly love the scarlet and gold fall colour. In a woodland combination, Enkianthus is a stunner; it is a much underused shrub and deserves to be seen more. Enkianthus likes a moist, acidic, humic soil with fairly good drainage. Fall colour is more pronounced in full sun, but will still work rather well in dappled sun position.
Euonymus alata. I couldn’t look you in the eye if I didn’t have this neon leaved fall charmer on my list! I quite like the limy new growth as well, not to mention the great winter structure and fascinating winged bark. Another forgiving plant, Euonymus likes a well drained, humic soil in a sunny spot.
Blueberry. And they pay rent too!! Depending on varieties, the fall colour ranges from butter yellow to deepest burgundy red. Many varieties also have red twigs and can be used in winter arrangements. Blueberries like an acid soil, well draining with plenty of available moisture, so adding pine needles or compost rich in coffee grounds works great as a topdressing. Treat them like a Rhododendron and they will be your friend.
Oak Leaf Hydrangea
Oak Leaved Hydrangea or Hydrangea quercifolia is the best of both worlds as far as I’m concerned. Huge blossoms in the summer, which hang on for quite some time and impressive, deep burgundy fall colour. Its a larger hydrangea so do give it the room it deserves and you won’t be disappointed! Again, a well drained (really well drained) humic soil in part shade is best for this one.
A great new variety is called 'Little Honey'. Lime green - yellow leaves are sure to brighten up a dark spot in the garden!
These are the Fall Fab Five in the shrub arena, of course there are many, many other notables, Most if not all are available at Art's as regularly stocked items.
I’d love to hear some of your faves!! Stay tuned for the Fall Fab Five trees, grasses and perennials.