Posted on October 20th, 2009 No comments
A well-planned landscape provides continuous, colorful inspiration as the seasons change. Autumn brings dramatic sweeps of brilliant color that last. As autumn colors fade, landscape plantings contrast starkly against winter whiteness to create a striking display of tree silhouettes, distinctive bark, colorful berries on shrubs and snow-dusted perennials rustling in the wind.
You can add late season drama to your landscape with the following perennials, shrubs, and trees that are proven performers in our area.
Some of our late-blooming favorites provide a refreshing difference to the reds and golds commonly seen in autumn. For example, the tiny white flowers of Boltonia B. asteroids ‘Snowbank’ (4’) are reminiscent of spring daisies and have cheery yellow-green centers. This plant’s tall and sturdy growth makes it ideal for the back of the perennial bed, blooming September through October.
Glowing pinks and vibrant purples come from various cultivars of Aster. ‘Purple Dome’ or ‘Woods Purple’ (18”) which bloom with dramatic displays of purple with yellow centers. Asters start blooming in September and are suitable in the middle ground of a flower bed, to disguise their fading lower leaves.
The fiery red autumn leaves of Dwarf Burning Bush Euonymus alatus ‘compacta’ (5-6’) are truly dazzling on a sunny fall day. Its corky winged branches provide winter interest after the leaves have fallen.
Another fall favorite, the Dwarf Fothergilla Fothergilla gardenia (3’) radiates a warm fall glow as each and every leaf becomes a collage of yellow, red and orange. It tolerates shade nicely and, in spring, fragrant bottlebrush shaped white flowers appear.
The Viburnum is a widely adaptable, shade tolerant shrub which offers spring flowers, full summer foliage and terrific fall color. ‘Blackhaw’ (12-15’) is a native viburnum that blooms with white flower clusters in spring. Leaves turn bronze to brilliant burgundy in autumn. Its showy, bluish-black berries offer birds food in winter. ‘Koreanspice’ Viburnum (5’) has spicy, sweet fragrant flowers blooming from late April through early May, with red to burgundy colored leaves in the fall. ‘Autumn Jazz’ Viburnum (8-10’) has shiny green leaves with creamy white flowers in late spring. Blue-black fruit follows in late summer. Fall foliage colors range from yellow to orange.
A tree bares its soul in winter, as falling leaves expose its silhouette. Some tree species are especially dramatic, as their trunk bark exfoliates in curls and shreds that reveal subtle colors and textures. The following trees are outstanding exfoliating specimens in the landscape.
The bark of Heritage River Birch Betula nigra ‘Heritage’ (35-40’), peels off in delicate curls, revealing a colorful inner bark that is almost a peach color. Resistant to the birch borer, which can attack other birches, it thrives in damp areas. Pretty yellow foliages appear in the fall and its delicate dark cinnamon-colored branches taper out to accentuate its vase shape.
As its name implies, the exfoliating reddish-brown bark of Paperbark Maple Acer griseum (15’) is an attractive feature. The bark begins peeling on two or three year-old branches. Upright and spreading, with a rounded crown, the leaves turn scarlet in autumn.
Posted on October 19th, 2009 No comments
We all enjoy the colors of autumn leaves, delighting in their ephemeral beauty, knowing that all too soon their leaves will drop and winter will be here. Have you ever wondered why leaves change color?
Plant leaves contain pigments that give them their color. The three primary pigments in a plant leaf are chlorophyll (which gives leaves their green color), carotenoids (which provide yellows, oranges and browns) and anthocyanins (responsible for purples and reds). During the growing season, the dominant pigment in most plant leaves is chlorophyll. Plants use chlorophyll in the photosynthesis process. In this amazing process, plants take carbon dioxide from the air, water from their roots, and combine them with sunlight taken in through their leaves to produce glucose (sugar). This is what they do to make their own food.
As summer ends, and sunlight lessens as days begin to get shorter, chlorophyll production slows and eventually stops as plants prepare for winter. When the chlorophyll breaks down, the other colors that have been there all along become visible, and we start to see the change of color. The amount of the various pigments in a leaf are specific to each species of plants, and will also vary from plant to plant within a species. That’s why plants have different colored leaves, and some plants, even of the same kind, are more colorful than others.
Fall color is also influenced by the weather. Temperature and soil moisture are the two main factors. Warm sunny days, followed by cool but not freezing nights, bring out the best color. Too wet or too dry conditions will often result in less dramatic fall color.
Every autumn is different, every autumn is to be appreciated. It has been said that if a person lives 80 years old, they have only had 80 Octobers to appreciate the beauty of the autumn leaves. Take the time to appreciate this special phenomenon.
Just a few of our favorites with spectacular fall color are Triflorum Maple, Paperbark Maple, Serviceberry, Burning Bush, Fothergilla, Itea and Oakleaf Hydrangea.
Posted on October 19th, 2009 No comments
Low voltage landscape lighting is a safe and energy-efficient way to beautify your garden and increase the time you can enjoy it. With a wide selection of eye-catching fixtures and numerous lighting techniques, the system will add value, safety and security to your home.
Landscape lighting emphasizes your property’s best features, adds mood and extends your outdoor living space well into the evening. A properly lit patio can provide just the right mix of mood and light to entertain guests, or to simply relax with your family. Going beyond your patio and selectively illuminating your garden will enhance your yard and extend the nighttime beauty your landscaping has to offer.
Another advantage of outdoor lighting is safety and security. Defining your walkway or lighting uneven areas, such as natural elevation changes or steps, will help minimize the risk of trips and falls. Illuminating poorly lit areas near back gates, alleys or alcoves will also add a level of security around your home.
Landscape lighting can be as simple as installing lights along a pathway, or as complex as lighting an entire property. Whatever the goal, outdoor lighting has come a long way from the harsh glare of flood lighting. Today’s systems use a transformer to reduce your 120 volt electric house current to a safe, efficient, easy to manage 12-volt system that can easily grow or change along with your desires and your yard’s needs. An advantage of a low voltage system is that it can be installed when planting a new garden, or easily added to your current landscaping.
Homeowners can choose among many uniquely designed fixtures for pathway lighting. Accent lights can be used for steps, posts and pillars. More extensive lighting designs can include atmospheric area lighting; moonlighting; downlighting that filter light down from tree branches; backlighting to create silhouettes; wall wash lighting to accent wide areas; spot lighting to accent a particular feature; or water lighting to focus on waterfalls, ponds or fountains.
A well-designed lighting system heightens curb appeal and distinguishes your property from your neighbors by highlighting a home’s special architectural features and exceptional landscape plant specimens A well planned lighted landscape will provide delightful views of your garden, from your patio, from the street and form the inside of your home, while creating an attractive, safe and secure nighttime environment.