• Fall color in the garden: A gallery

    by  • September 17, 2016 • Drought tolerant plants, Fall

    I was able to show photos  as I gave a talk today on Fall Color at the Oakhurst Library.  For those who missed this event, here is what happened!

    Fall color surprises!

    It’s fun to discover Fall color in the garden when you don’t expect it, but don’t forget to plan for more color by choosing some of these deer and drought resistant plants, all grown in my ‘laboratory’ garden.  Some of these I’ve planned for, like the Japanese maples and Chrysanthemums, but others I have noticed since I moved here to the California foothills, for instance, Asters and Spirea and Sages.

    I’ve kept track of what thrives and blooms all the way into winter and all these photos are of my own garden in the months of September through December. One year, in my garden notes, I wrote ‘Get more Barberry!’ and I did,…  I found that Barberry has several ‘summer’ colors of emerald and lime green and even gold and burgundy, but it also turns a brilliant red or scarlet when the first cold snaps occur.

    Two colors of Autumn sage

    Two colors of Autumn sage

    Autumn sage has become an absolute favorite, mostly because it begins blooming in Spring, all through the summer and has a big flush of bloom in September! I consider it the most valuable plant in my garden, have planted it throughout and must have 25 or more of the various colors for red, pink, violet and blue.

    Mexican Marigold blooms in November

    Mexican Marigold blooms in November

    Two Autumn bloomers that wait until November to bloom are periwinkle blue New England Asters and chrome yellow Mexican Marigold.  Wouldn’t it be nice to grow these hardy perennials year after year in your garden?  Several plants happen to bloom twice in the foothill garden, Lavender, Rosemary, remontant Iris and Monkey Flower.  Two blooms for on planting! Bonus!

    Also, don’t forget that the leaves of common fruit trees, such as cherry, peach, crabapple, apple and pear turn various colors of yellow, orange and red.  Ornamental grasses and Black-eyed Susans add unique swathes of waving seed heads if left untrimmed. You’ll see that there are many more colors than the expected yellow, orange and red in my Fall garden  You can grow these, too!

    There’s a plant list at the end of this gallery, of all the pictured plants with common and Latin names.

    Plants that add Color to your Fall Garden!

    • Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ ever‘green’ white
    • Autumn sage, Salvia greggii or Salvia microphylla
          Best all around plant I my view for our area gardens… red, pink, magenta, salmon, violet
    • Barberry ‘Royal Cloak’, Berberis thunbergii
    • Blue Oak Sage, Salvia  chamaedryoides
    • Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia
    • California Fuchsia, Epilobium
    • Chrysanthemums
    • Crabapple
    • Elegant madia
    • Euphorbias, evergreen and colorful, totally gopher proof!
    • Firethorn, Pyracantha
    • Fruit trees, pear, peach, apple and cherry
    • Gloriosa Daisy, Rudbeckia
    • Goldenfleece (a CA native to keep)
    • Golden oregano, grow with Iris!
    • Helichrysum ‘Icicles’
    • Helichrysum ‘Moe’s Silver’
    • Heerman’s tarweed
    • Iris, remontant, twice blooming variety
    • Japanese Maple
    • Lavender, second bloom!
    • Mexican Purple Sage, grow as annual or protect with thick mulch
    • Mexican marigold, Tagetes lemmonii
    • Monkey flower, Mimulus
    • Mullein, weed or no? I allow one or two
    • New England Asters, Aster novae-angliae
    • Ornamental Cabbage
    • Ornamental pear
    • Pansies
    • Pineapple Sage, Salvia elegans
    • Purple Fountain Grass-(Buy in gallon size and grow as an annual- worth it!)
    • Redbud
    • Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
    • Sedum ‘Dragon’s Blood’
    • Spiraea
    • Swan River daisy, Brachyscome
    • Tarweed! (keep a little of this CA native)
    • Trumpet Vine, Campsis radicans, deciduous
    • Violas

    I hope you’ll discover some of these colorful plants and if you need any tips on Fall planting, see this:
    Fall planting in the Sierra foothills”  Parts 1, 2, and 3


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.