GB Foliage Day- October Highlights

Ok I know I’m a few days late, but I still wanted to get in on Christina’s GBFD post.  It is her 500th post after all!

For us the foliage season is going downhill fast.  Here in NE Pennsylvania the foliage color has peaked and most has dropped, and it’s just some of the slowpokes and lingerers which are still giving a show.  The gray days of winter are approaching fast….

fall color in a mixed border

Color along the front porch. In a few more days the hostas will turn bright yellow, but for now the dogwood seedling (now a sapling?) steals the show.

We’ve had a good amount of rain lately and I’m digging and planting and cleaning away.  I love a nice green lawn in the fall, and spent yesterday mowing up the fallen leaves and leaving behind a neat lush carpet.  What I should have done is transplant the flowering dogwood seedling which is way too close to the porch and house…. but I guess I’ll just have to live to regret that one’s placement.  Maybe it will somehow work out 🙂

burning bush fall color in a mixed border

Burning bush (euonymus alata) living up to its name with a few final zinnias and giant reed grass (arundo).

The red of the burning bush foliage is a fantastic color at this time of year, but I think this will be its last fall.  It’s an invasive plant around here and although several neighbors also grow it I don’t want to contribute to the problem.  There were enough seedlings coming up last spring to tell me it needs to go, and maybe a native blueberry will be a better choice for the spot (tastier too).

yucca color guard with ceratostigma (leadwort)

Yucca ‘color guard’ with the burgundy foliage of ceratostigma (leadwort).

Last winter was rough on the yucca, killing off most of its leaves.  I’m glad to see it has recovered since I love the foliage so much.  Right now the leadwort has a nice reddish tint which sets off the yucca well, and even without the bright blue late summer flowers it’s still a great plant.  Too bad I never planted the colchicums out here.  That would have been a nice look!

variegated boxwood

I like boxwood, and this variegated one surprised me by making it through last winter without a single scorched leaf. The odd little drumsticks to the right are seedheads from an anemone who’s name escapes me at the moment.

The big foliage stars around here are the hardwoods, and if you move around to the back deck, the red maples are still hanging on to a few leaves.  Without any wild storms or hard freezes the color has lasted quite a while this year.

Pennsylvania deck in fall

It’s been a nice long fall this year, and I’ve had plenty of time to work through the summer containers figuring out who comes inside and who doesn’t 😦

Off to the other side of the deck the not-quite-tropical border has faded to dead stalks, and I’ll probably leave it like that all winter.  Fortunately the grasses are at their peak, and with a little late afternoon sun everything has a nice glow to it.

autumn color ornamental grasses

Panicum ‘cloud nine’ is a big fluffy grass which really comes in to its own this time of year.

I’m not much for fall cleanup, I tend to leave everything standing throughout the winter and then mow it all down in March.  I do get a little greedy with the leaves though.  I’ll mow up as many as I can and use the mulched leaves to blanket vegetable beds and bulb plantings.  They’re perfect for keeping out winter weeds and feeding the earthworms.

heuchera fall foliage

The heucheras are showing new colors and patterns now that the weather has cooled. It will be interesting to see how these settle in and perform next year… I bet these would love a nice chopped leaf mulch.

More evergreens would go far in setting off some of the fall foliage, I just don’t have much in that department.  Overgrown yews are about all I have, and they’re a little close to the house to let them develop into the small trees they could be.

fothergilla fall foliage color

Bright reds and oranges of fothergilla. It’s a great native shrub for late season color, just keep the rabbits away from it in winter.

… and of course cyclamen.  How can you talk fall foliage without mentioning cyclamen?

cyclamen hederifolium

The last flowers on cyclamen hederifolium. As long as snow doesn’t cover them I’ll be able to enjoy these leaves all winter.

I’m much later in posting my foliage than I should be, but on the 22nd of each month Christina at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides hosts the Garden Bloggers Foliage Day, and gardeners from all over the world show off what leaves are doing for their gardens.  Take a look and see what they’re up to…. I’m going to try to, but I have so many bulbs to plant and leaves to mulch it’s going to be a busy weekend!

20 comments on “GB Foliage Day- October Highlights

  1. Christina says:

    Some great colour there Frank! Thank you for joining in, no problem at all being late. i only set the date so I don’t forget. A shame you’re going to remove the euonymus alata, it’s a fantastic red but if it is invasive you are right, I’m sure. It’s probably not too late to move the dogwood if you really think it is too close to the house. I’m busy planting bulbs too! Have a great weekend.

    • bittster says:

      I will miss the euonymus… but it’s not gone yet so anything could happen.
      The dogwood really is too close to the house, but maybe it will bend for the light and not be a problem. It’s not the perfect situation or where I would have chosen to plant it, but sometimes these opportunistic plantings add a nice little unexpected touch. In any case I’ve lost nothing if I ever do decide to remove it.

  2. The dogwood leaves are gorgeous! They’re much more fiery and bright than the leaves on my Kousa Dogwood. My burning bush has already dropped most of its leaves. Do you spray your boxwood with Wilt-Pruf for the winter? We had some browning on ours over last winter, and the landscaper suggested spraying them. I feel like it may be a good idea for the two dozen new ones in front of the terrace wall. They’re pretty exposed there.

    Oh, if only you were a little closer, you would certainly be welcome to all of the leaves you could carry away from our yard!

    • bittster says:

      Be careful about offering leaves, you might be frightened by how far I consider close when it comes to leaves! A few years ago I was visiting my parents and gave them a hand cleaning up leaves…. I actually pulled two bag fulls off the street and threw them into the back of the van to take home to PA. That’s about a 240 mile drive 🙂
      I never put anything onto my boxwood, but I don’t think it would be the worst idea for some newly planted ones. But…. I think winter hardiness depends more on cultivar, some are just more hardy than others. I have a few little hedges which I transplanted in November and never gave any protection to. They did just fine.

  3. pbmgarden says:

    Beautiful color everywhere, especially on your dogwood.

  4. rebecca says:

    I’ve admired burning bushes (never planted one here, but thought about it) but never knew they were potentially invasive. Hmmmmmm.

    What beautiful foliage remains there. Most of ours is a bit ragged now…time to get serious about autumn maintenance chores.

    • bittster says:

      Hi Rebecca, I guess it’s that time of year for ragged leaves and dying plants. I spent most of the afternoon today mowing up leaves and spreading the mulch around the garden… I’m hoping it will keep all the winter weeds from sprouting and I can just dig it under and plant next spring! Too bad it never works out that easy 🙂
      Have a great week and thanks for the comment!

  5. Cathy says:

    You’ve got loads of colour Frank – really nice! I love that red Euonymus. Too bad it has to go. Leadwort always looks lovely in autumn – mine is still producing a flower or two. My pots are almost all sorted now, just the bulbs to finish planting. Hope you had good weather for working outdoors. It’s cold and damp here and feeling like November already!

    • bittster says:

      It was nice weather here this weekend, a little windy but still warm enough to be comfortable. I’ve been very good bulb-wise this year and really have next to no new ones, only replants. Maybe I deserve a visit to one of the better online catalogs before it gets too late 🙂

      Ooops, I forgot about some of the bulbs I already planted earlier in the month….. Hmmm, maybe it’s better not to look :/

  6. Chloris says:

    Lots of lovely colour still. The Euonymus is a gorgeous colour and so is the Dogwood. I hope you can keep them.

    • bittster says:

      The dogwood will stay. I’m sure no one will copy the look, but sometimes the spontaneous plantings work out best! The euonymus has to go though. I’ve seen too many seedlings around the garden and I know it’s only a matter of time before they appear in the surrounding woods.

  7. Pauline says:

    You still have some fantastic colour Frank with the reds and golds and green to show them off! The sword shaped leaves of your Yucca contrast beautifully with everything around it.
    This is a busy time of year, getting the garden tidy once more, I usually clear all the areas near the house and leave the others further away for the wildlife to enjoy over the winter, that’s my excuse!

    • bittster says:

      I will also leave most of the areas as is until spring. I feel like it gives it all some time to weather a bit and dry out and makes cleanup easier. Also like you said, the wildlife seems to take advantage if the cover.
      The yucca is a favorite, I saw some potted up in a planter and will likely copy the look. It’s the closest I can get to a potted phormiun!

  8. There is much color in your garden, Frank. I just got back and did not even take a look at what is in my garden, although bulbs are coming on Friday to plant. I will chalk up leaving the garden color by the wayside for this year and dig in bulbs for next. Trees in our area are not quite as colorful as in previous years, but I did see some colorful trees on my trip, yet many flowers were still in bloom.

    • bittster says:

      I’m surprised the color up your way has been dull this fall, ours seemed exceptional here in the mountains! I never really thought of the color as being so regional.

  9. Really nice color on that Fothergilla. As to the flowering dogwood, can’t you transplant it in the Spring?

    • bittster says:

      I could transplant the dogwood but it’s so much work finding a spot, getting a shovel in between the bulbs, keeping it watered, keeping the competition trimmed back… So much easier to just leave as is and then maybe cut it down in 15 years…

  10. It’s not too late to move that little sapling. Love how vivid your fothergilla is. I finally added some this spring. If the rabbits munch them, my dogs will be enjoying bunny kebabs for dinner. 🙂

    • bittster says:

      Good luck with the fothergilla, I really like mine, just wished it bloomed a little longer!
      I could move the dogwood still, but laziness is so much easier 🙂

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