the best fall garden ever….trees

Since i am so busy in the garden, this is a good week for the shortest of these posts, trees.

Trees for late season are easy in New England. So may of our deciduus trees having brilliant fall color and are a little bit of a no-brainer. BUT there are a select few we can plant that add something else besides foliage.

To top the list is heptacodium miconiodes, or seven- son- flower. This small tree  , which will grow 15-20 ft ,has beautiful smooth bark which exfoliates during the winter, a good reason to keep it limbed up for viewing, although you can grow it as a multi stemmed tree if you like. It has a nice branch structure , and in the late summer is absoutely smothered with white lightly scented star shaped  flowers, seven from each bud ,hence the name . After the petals drop,  what remains are very small fruits surrounded by cherry red calyces which most certainly add some drama to the garden.(photo from Bluestone Perennials)Buds each with seven white stars

It will live in full sun or dappled shade making garden placement easy.

Another small tree variety  to include is  disease resistant crabapples for their fruit display. A few favorites are ‘Tina’ which has very brightly colored fruit and stays very small ( under 10 ft), ‘Mrs. Robinson’ with it’s dark leaves and darker fruit, and’Prairie Fire’ which also has dark purple leaves, good fruit display and all have outstanding resistance to apple scab. Crabapples are highly ornamental from early spring bloom right through winter and  if you have room an allee of them would be spectacular. DSC_0024

For fall color  i will just add only my three top picks

amelanchiercanadensis ‘Autumn Brilliance’  or service berry, another fantastic small tree that offers  spring bloom, summer fruit  birds love , and intense red fall color on the leaves all while asking very little  in return. It is an easy to grow native , full sun to part shade and very resiliant in drought here.

although this ia a biggie-to 40 ft, nothing beats parrotia persica, which appears aflame in October especilally when  planted in our acidic soils.(photo from greatplantpickscom which is a suberb resource for discovering garden worthy plants.

Bookmark it for those boring rainy days,


and sweet gum, or liquidambar styraciflua, which can get large , but is a highlight of any garden when the colors change in cooler weather. It is the only one on the list I don’t ( yet) grow , but it is on my radar as a replacement for a tree we are taking down in the next few years

today we are getting the very first rain of July, it is beyond dry here, despite irrigation the ground throws up puffs  of dust every time I pull a weed  . Wroking in the garden  I remember  haunting  pictures of forlorn farmers in desolate barren landscapes , clouds of dust in the air. Having studied that era of our history in a class in college,those images have forever been seared into my memory, Draught is serious business, and it is scary to think how little control we have over it and other disasterous weather.

Happier thoughts!  Tommorow  is an Open Day here and I do love company, so stop by if you can.

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