Now that we’ve begun the season of darkness and it looks like midnight at 5 pm, bursts of golden color during the day is important. I love the last of the riot of color and texture that is in my front home garden. The details become very important.
Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed) seed heads and browned leaves and stems against a background of Acer rubrum ‘Autumn Blaze’ (Red maple) foliage.
I look for plants that at minimum do three seasons of heavy lifting even if it’s in a period of decay. They have to be tough and deer resistant. They also have to play well with others and offer opportunities for textural combinations since most of their bloom times are fairly short lived. Here are some of the stars in my New Jersey home garden in late fall. None are difficult to grow or find and all are suitable for a small space–some take up airspace like the narrow yet 7′ tall Veronia rather than having a big footprint others like the Amsonia need a wide birth and frequent division to keep them where they are.
Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’ (Shasta Daisy)
Cotinus coggygria ‘Ancot’ (Golden Spirit Smokebush)
Amsonia hubrichtii (Threadleaf bluestar) and Sedum x ‘Autum Joy’
Fothergilla gardenii foliage and Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ (Red Twigged Dogwood) twigs.
Malus x ‘Coralburst’ (dwarf crabapple) fruits.
Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed) seed heads.