The dog days of summer are now long behind us, days are shorter and temperatures much more comfortable. It’s this time of year, the fall, which is the most ideal for introductions into your landscape. Plants are beginning to prepare for winter and going into a stage of dormancy to conserve energy for the long, harsh winter. This reduced growth activity is exactly what allows their installation/transplant with little or no stress to the plant itself. Also take advantage of the array of vibrant colors the fall has to offer in making your selections.
The following are my three fall favorites which capture both bold leaf and berry colors:
BRANDYWINE VIBURNUM: Viburnum nudum is a native shrub which really offers a knockout display of fall colors. The leaves turn a dark maroon-red from glossy green and berries are mixed clusters of pinks and blues. It prefers sun/part shade and moist, well-drained soils. The berries will attract birds and deer tend to shy away from eating. This variety is best suited within a property perimeter buffer planting where it has enough room to reach its full potential of 6 feet in height/width.
HIGHBUSH BLUEBERRY: It only seems right to include the plant which made the South Jersey town of Hammonton the proclaimed “Blueberry Capital of the World.” This plant is not just reserved for the sprawling fields seen along the Atlantic City Expressway or White Horse and Black Horse Pikes. It has many appealing attributes for the residential landscape in addition to those super fruit berries. The leaves transform into a blaze of red-orange which, when planted in masses, really give a stunning effect. As the temperature falls, the stems and branches even mimic the leaf color, which then lasts throughout the winter.
BEAUTY BERRY: The name says it all for this fall show stopper. The berries appear as clusters of purple pearls along the length of the arching branches. They almost look fake, as if put there during an attempted crafting project. The leaves will also turn chartreuse green following the berries. Callicarpa prefers sun/part shade and moist, well-drained soils. As with the Viburnum mentioned above, Beauty Berry can grow 6 feet tall/wide and therefore should be planted in borders and massings.
Fall is an encore performance of color display and the final bow for a great year in the growth cycle of many plants. Introducing them at this perfect time of year ensures their survivability to thrive and flourish for many more years to come. Visit a local garden center nursery on a brisk weekend morning and stroll the rows to see what colors pique your interest.
Michael Pasquarello is a degreed landscape architect with Elite Landscaping. Email him at MPasquarello@EliteLandscaping.com or call (856) 753-1944. Visit EliteLandscaping.com for more information.