I’ve never been one to garden with an eye to fall color. Most of the plants I’m drawn to don’t really put on a big fall display and besides, there’s plenty all around me (in the neighborhood) so why worry about including it in my garden? So I am surprised every year when my Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' starts to put on its fall show.
I planted it for the dark leaves it holds through summer, not having a clue it would color up in the fall, eventually putting on a show that rivals the neighbors sumac (Rhus typhina 'Tiger Eyes', which it is closely related to) seen here on the left...
It’s also my short color-echo for another neighbor’s maple...
The stats on this “smoke bush”:
- deciduous shrub which grows in USDA Zones 5a-9b
- eventual height and width of 15' x 15' - can be kept smaller with pruning
- likes sun to part sun exposure with average soil and moderate water
- flowers in the summer with small yellow blooms which give way to pink to bronze colored puffy smoke-like plumes
While I was thinking about it I took a look around for anything else in my garden that’s colored up red/orange. I almost included the blood grass (Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron') but since it’s always red that would be cheating. The big winner is the Parthenocissus quinquefolia, a hitchhiker that came along with some plants from my mom’s garden in Spokane. I tear out huge pieces of it all the time, lest it take over. Here it is picturesquely climbing across my neighbor’s garage (yes it originates in my garden) mixed in with the foliage of a clematis and her hops vine...
The only other bright color I found belongs to the fallen seed cones of the Magnolia macrophylla, which are starting to hit the ground with an audible thump.
They look like this when they fall, but then the seeds start to disappear.
Or like in this case the whole thing disappears! I placed a fallen cone here just yesterday, all that remains is the stem.
Anyway, back to that cotinus and a question…got a fall fav in your garden?
All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.