Veronia and maple

Planting Design: Late Fall Texture and Color

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.

Veronia and maple

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.

Leucanthumum superbum 'Becky'

Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’ (Shasta Daisy) 

Cotinus coggygria 'Ancot'

Cotinus coggygria ‘Ancot’ (Golden Spirit Smokebush)

Amsonia and sedum

Amsonia hubrichtii (Threadleaf  bluestar) and Sedum x ‘Autum Joy’

Fothergilla gardenii and red twigged dogowood

Fothergilla gardenii foliage and Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ (Red Twigged Dogwood) twigs.


Malus x ‘Coralburst’ (dwarf crabapple) fruits.

Vernonia noveboracensis seed heads

 Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed) seed heads.


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2 thoughts on “Planting Design: Late Fall Texture and Color

  1. Wow. Apparently, THIS is the blog I’ve been needing.

    Since the Good Enough Gardening podcast is on constant replay on my iPod, I’ve been THINKING about landscaping SOME of our land (we’ve got 5 acres), and they led me to you. However, I am a conservation biologist, and while I took a year of organic chemistry (ooh, fun!), I took NO design. AND live in a fire-prone, HOT, DRY, deer/gopher-riddled place in the boonies, so there’s lots of caveats I’ll need in plant selection.

    So, I love this post. Great examples, and so FINITE. A few great examples of things to look for re: shape & color in fall/winter. So helpful, ’cause starting on something like this can get overwhelming in about 25 seconds.

    *sigh* Thank you!!

  2. Samantha–Thank you so much! Your comments made me smile. I always hope that I can help others realize the gardens of their dreams. There’s 100s of posts here…you might find something else if you use the search function at the top right also! –sc

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