Fall is one of the best seasons to let your garden shine. Let’s focus on three garden winners that not only spice up the fall garden, but also deliver three-season interest.
By Chris Cohan
Fall is one of the best seasons to let your garden shine. Let’s focus on three garden winners that not only spice up the fall garden, but also deliver three-season interest. Three for three, which is a lot better than the Giants’ record.
Heuchera (Coral Bells) are easy to grow, deer pay them no mind, and they are untroubled by pests and disease. They are eager to please, starting spring with perky leaves, followed by dainty long-lasting flowers. Shallow-rooted, they combine well under trees and larger plantings, while offering vitality and color to the fading fall garden all the way to frost. Coral Bells are low-growing perennials that perform well in sun to semi-shade.
There are two camps of Heuchera gardeners: those who like the plants for their flower, others for their foliage. The flowers are dainty sprays sitting atop leaves that vary from deeply veined ‘Electric Lime’ to black red all the way to yellow-green varieties like ‘Lime Rickey’. This low-growing perennial performs well in sun to semi-shade.
Lonicera, commonly known as Honeysuckle, is also untroubled by most pests and diseases and deer leave it be. This twining vine prefers conditions on the dry side, making it highly adaptable to stress. The blooms are followed by bright red berries that songbirds adore, making it a year-round winner. Give it room to grow, and it will repay you richly.
Irresistible to hummingbirds, the vine fills your garden with sweet scent and soft color from mid-spring till fall. Honeysuckle is the solution, whether you want to create a quick cottage garden effect having it cascade over an entrance arbor, blanket an unsightly fence, or formally espaliered.
Give it full sun or very light shade and it will reward you with hundreds of blooms on 12- to 20-foot-long vines, usually within the first season. Lonicera brownii ‘Bailbelle’ are ‘Gold Flame’ are great selections.
What could be better than Autumn Joy Sedum, a perennial renowned for its ease of care and splendid long-season blooms? A variegated sort of Autumn Joy, of course. Autumn Charm keeps its variegation well from spring till frost. It has the same bloom strength, butterfly appeal, and ease of care as its famous parent (Ah, an offspring that makes its parent happy), and offers an indispensable source of color three seasons out of the year.
Butterflies, bees, and birds all take turns feasting on Sedum blooms. After the butterflies depart for the season, birds come to feast on the dried seed heads. The stout seed heads last all winter, catch falling snow, and provide the winter armchair gardener with cold season beauty. If you’d rather enjoy the winter color indoors, cut the blossoms while they’re fresh, hang them upside down until they dry, and enjoy them for months.
Famous for their ability to put up with just about anything in the garden, give Sedum full sunshine and reasonably good soil drainage, and they will do the rest. Be sure to pamper the first year with plenty of food and water to establish a healthy root system.
Whether it is spring, summer, fall or even a bit of winter these three will provide at least three seasons of joy. Now that’s a safe bet.