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Yard MD: The striking golds of late autumn brighten fall gardens

Nov. 7, 2013
 
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November glows with gold and yellow, including many species of wild sunflowers, like these Jerusalem Artichokes, still holding blooms well after the first frost. / ROB ZIMMER/Post-Crescent Media

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Anything that still adds color in November is treasured by gardeners and landscapers. Only the toughest plants survive the first killing frosts of October to bring their glow into the final weeks of the year. Thankfully, there is a wide variety of flowers and foliage plants that bring brilliant shimmer to the November landscape.

One of the most prevalent colors during late fall is gold. From flowers and leaves right down to the bare bark, there are a number of wonderful plants that provide rich, elegant gold color in the garden and landscape.

Against the clear blue November sky, the color gold gleams brilliantly, and is unmatched for its gleaming elegance when all else is beginning to fade.

From trees and shrubs to colorful roses, pansies, violas, rudbeckia, golden conifers and much more, there are a number of wonderful plants you can count on to add a golden shimmer to your November garden.

Combining these plants, along with other striking fall favorites such as scarlet burning bush, oaks and Japanese maples, or the rich blues of blue spruce and monkshood, you can create some striking and colorful combinations to end the year with a bang.

Here are some of my favorite plants to add a golden touch during late fall.

Tamarack or larch

Available in more varieties than ever before, the many different types of larches or Tamarack are beautiful trees, not only for their rich fall golden color, but for the texture they provide year-round.

Popular hybrids of the native larch include weeping larch, famous for its slender arching form and asymmetrical shape, as well as varied directions larch, which features branches that arrow out in unusual directions and varying lengths from all sides of the tree.

A rose of gold

There are many varieties of roses that bloom in yellow and gold, keeping the garden full of blossoms sometimes well into December.

One of the most popular is Sunny Knockout, the striking gold member of the popular Knockout series of roses that have gained a rampant following here in our area for easy growing, hardiness, beauty and dependability.

Harisonís Yellow is another popular yellow, an older variety that has held its own in the world of modern rose hybrids.

Other yellow roses to consider are the newer Monkey Business, Julia Child, Summer Surprise hybrid tea rose and Sunny Sprinkles.

Blue star's November surprise

Perhaps best known for its star-like, light blue flowers that decorate the plants in early to mid spring, Blue Star takes on a whole new, unexpected appearance in fall. Itís fine, feathery textured foliage and stems turn a brilliant brassy gold by November, adding a whole new dimension to the autumn garden.

Blue star grows to about 3 feet high and can spread to form a large clump. Though its flowers are short-lived in spring, patient gardeners who know whatís coming in late fall are rewarded again with the plantís final bow in November.

In addition to its spring flowers and fall color, the tall, slender stalks dance wildly in the autumn breeze. Many gardeners snip back the stalks during summer after bloom, losing out on the colorful fall show.

Sedum for all seasons

There are several varieties of this popular succulent plant that turn a brilliant lemon yellow or gold color during late fall. Some varieties of this wide-ranging family also turn orange, red or deep purple, making it fun to combine them together not only for their fall flowers, but for the changes in foliage color as well.

Combined with the deep maroon red of the fading flowers in November, the striking effect is unmatched in the garden. There are tall sedum that can grow nearly 3 feet high, and there are ground cover varieties that may be less than 2 inches in height.

Choose varieties known for their autumn gold color and place in masses near blue spruce for an unusual and beautiful fall display.

Unfortunately, many gardeners miss the display of sedum in fall by chopping their perennials down earlier in the season.

Yellow twig dogwood

A beautiful yard and landscape shrub, yellow twig dogwood features bright yellow Ė green twigs and stems that seem to become even brighter during late fall and winter.

In addition to the gold colored stems and branches, the leaves of yellow twig dogwood turn a bright golden color during late October and November. The combination of gold foliage and smooth golden upright stems is beautiful in the fall landscape.

Combine yellow twig dogwood with native red osier dogwood and blue spruce for a colorful year-round garden delight.

Rudbeckia and Sunflowers

The many yellow, daisy like flowers of fall fill the garden and landscape with the golds of November in many shades from deep, golden brown to mustard to bright lemon yellow.

Rudbeckia, which includes all of the native and hybrid black-eyed susans, come in an ever-growing number of sizes, shapes, colors and textures. A few of my favorites include Irish Eyes, with a bright, lime green central cone instead of the normal ďblack eye,Ē and Cherry Brandy, which is a deep, ruby red as it first comes into bloom, then fades to a rich burgundy.

Plant Cherry Brandy in combination with other golden rudbeckia for an added burst of fall color.

Many of the wild and garden sunflowers continue to put on their extravagant show into November as well. You can keep garden sunflowers coming by deadheading spent blooms off your plants, or by seeding fresh sunflowers in late July or August for fall bloom.

Witch hazel

Hybrid and native witch hazels provide fantastic fall color with their masses of heavily textured golden blossoms decorating the bare branches and twigs of these medium to large sized shrubs. With their twisted, waxy petals, witch hazel in bloom brings a beautiful glow to the November garden, along with the pleasing architecture of its branches and canes.

In addition to the flowers, the leaves of witch hazel turn a brilliant golden yellow in fall.

ó Rob Zimmer: 920-419-3734, yardmd@postcrescent.com

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