I never seem to be able to muster up the strength to do these two posts back-to-back...but this month I was determined to make it happen! Pam Penick at Digging hosts the monthly Foliage Follow-Up at her site...and it's always a great way to recognize the importance of foliage after our monthly glut of blooming awesomeness the day before ;-) Of course, it helps that the fall foliage is at it's peak right about now...making it impossible to ignore. It helps that Autumn in Portland is generously long...lasting months...not the brief 2 (or fewer) weeks that I got in the Midwest when growing up!
Front (East) border on a foggy morning
We've had some really nice foggy mornings the past few weeks, which always makes things look even more beautiful. Love the misty, mysterious effect the fog imparts to the scene.
Parrotia persica (Persian Ironwood)
Well, I can hardly do a fall foliage post without mentioning trees. We only have 2 trees on our small property. Two years ago we planted a pair of Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica) trees with the Friends of Trees program. It's a pretty great organization whose goal is help people plant and care for trees in the Portland area. I have to admit, I'm not super knowledgable about trees, in general. When picking out trees from the lists they provide (based on the size and conditions of the area you are planting in), my only real criteria was that they have nice fall color and decent form. I decided on the Ironwoods because they filled both these requirements, adding interesting exfoliating bark and Witch Hazel-like early spring flowers. I have to say, I've been very pleased with them...they are handsome and have beautiful fall color...mostly gold with hints of orange and red. Our neighbors down the street planted the same trees at the same time as we did our. I've noticed their trees colored up several weeks earlier than ours did, and have much more red/orange in them. I think it's probably due to them not watering quite as frequently...which apparently produced more vivid fall colors...good to know for next year!
Oak trees across street
One of the reasons we picked this house in this neighborhood is because of the gorgeous old Oak trees that line the street we live on. I just love them to pieces...even if they shade the garden quite a bit. Of course, they also shade the house in summer, which makes me a happy camper. These Oaks are really variable in regards to fall color...some years the leaves just brown and fall, but this year they are turning a glorious range of gold and reds...so pretty!
Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)
Can't do a foliage post without grasses, the stars of my autumn garden! I know I just did a huge post on them, however, so I'll keep comments to a minimum ;-) I can never get enough of the wonderful color range of Little Bluestem...plant them, people!
Panicum 'Blood Brothers'
Can never get over the wonderful colors of the Panicums, especially this one. It's nice, too, that they are so upright and don't flop over in the rain.
I'm pleased with how the Amsonias I planted last spring have bulked up, and look forward to them getting better each year. I must say, this part of the garden is a bit sparse-looking right now as I wait for them to fill in...but these glimpses of their fall glory really makes me excited for what's to come! If you've ever seen a mature plant, you'll know what I mean!
|Lilium 'Black Beauty'||Eutrochium 'Little Joe'|
Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'
I know it's considered bad to admit that I planted something just for it's flowers, but I have to plead guilty when it comes to Echinacea purpurea. However, come autumn, I'm vindicated when I remember that the wonderful yellowing foliage and dark, spiky seed heads are just as rad. I love how the leaves twist and curl...very Tim Burton-esque!
Geranium 'Ann Folkard'
Again, this plant delivers on every level...gotta love the foliage during the entire growing season...and now, as it turns deep red and purple...love it even more.
|Geranium 'Rozanne'||Sedum 'Matrona'|
Another, gratuitous shot of 'Rozanne'
I bought this Geranium in spring, based purely on the promise of fall color. I'm pleased to say that it's actually quite lovely all year long. The foliage has nice dark markings and cute little violet flowers all summer and into fall. The autumn coloring is rich red-orange and looks spectacular climbing up through other plants.
Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing'
While this plant really sulked during summer, I cut it back to the ground and it resprouted a few weeks ago and now looks fresh and lovely. Can't wait to see how it fares next year...I'm loving the dark, divided foliage.
Parthenocissus henryii (Silver-Vein Virginia Creeper)
I planted this vine purely for the fall coloring. It's definitely handsome during the rest of the year, but this is what I've been waiting for!
|Panicum 'Shenandoah'||Eutrochium 'Gateway'|
Closetup of Eutrochium 'Gateway'
This close-up of 'Gateway' shows off the wonderful wine-red stems...really a great contrast with the yellowing foliage. Although the stems are noticeable all during the growing season, they really stand out now.
I don't remember the Persicarias turning such vibrant colors last year...perhaps I just wasn't paying attention. Regardless, this year they are stunning...turning the most wonderful shades of scarlet and crimson...all this while continuing to bloom like it's still July!
Persicaria 'Lance Corporal'
This Persicaria might just be the perfect plant (aside from it's VERY generous re-seeding)! The foliage is gorgeous from the moment it emerges in spring...the richest, brightest green you can imagine, highlighted with maroon chevrons. In the fall, it turns a warm, vibrant yellow. Another bonus, unlike most Persicarias, which crumple into a heap at the first frost, the skeletal branching structure of 'Lance Corporal' remains standing sentinel all winter.
|Pennisetum 'Hameln' with Euphorbia 'Blue Jeans'||Miscanthus 'Malepartus'|
Side (North) border, featuring mainly grasses now
The garden relies heavily on the grasses at this time of year...and as they mature with each passing season, the garden feels more and more "together".
Front (East) border on a foggy morning
Again, the front garden during a beautiful, foggy November morning.
Happy Autumn, everyone! I hope you all take a moment and just ENJOY this amazing season :-) Oh...and dont' forget to head over to Digging for even more fabulous foliage-focused posts! Do I get bonus points for alliteration?!?