Episode 95: Unexpected Fall Color

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Since the Let’s Argue About Plants podcast is based in New England, we know all about fall color. This time of year is a favorite for most of our staffers, with the native sugar maples turning bright red and the birch trees shifting to brilliant yellow. But this episode is all about the unsung heroes of fall—plants that don’t immediately pop to mind when you think of vibrant autumnal color. And we’re not just talking about trees. There are some select perennials (even some that bloom in fall) and a couple of shrubs that no one ever seems to mention as late-season stars. Tune in to find out what underdogs made our lists.

Expert testimony: Jason Reeves is a horticulturist and curator of the University of Tennessee Gardens at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson.

Danielle’s Plants

 

‘Pink Frost’ small anise tree (credit: Plant Introductions)
‘Pink Frost’ small anise tree (Illicium floridanum ‘Pink Frost’, Zones 6–9). Photo: Plant Introductions

 

'Winter Gold' winterberry
‘Winter Gold’ winterberry (Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Gold’, Zones 3–9)

 

Peony foliage with fall color
Peony foliage with fall color (Paeonia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

 

Seven-son flower
Seven-son flower (Heptacodium miconioides, Zones 5–9)

 

Carol’s Plants

‘Summer Snowflake’ doublefile viburnum with ‘Honorine Jobert’ anemone (Anemone × hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’, Zones 4-8)
‘Summer Snowflake’ doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’, Zones 5–8) with ‘Honorine Jobert’ anemone (Anemone × hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’, Zones 4–8)

'Summer Snowflake' doublefile viburnum with fall bloom
‘Summer Snowflake’ doublefile viburnum with fall bloom

 

'Ozawa' Japanese onion
‘Ozawa’ Japanese onion (Allium thunbergii ‘Ozawa’, Zones 4–9)

 

Swamp milkweed autumn foliage color and seed pods
Swamp milkweed autumn foliage color and seedpods (Asclepias incarnata, Zones 3–6)

 

‘Fireworks’ goldenrod (Solidago rugosa, Zones 4–8)

 

Expert’s Plants

Jason Reeves is a horticulturist and curator of the University of Tennessee Gardens at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson.

‘Ogon’ spirea in early spring (credit: Jason Reeves)
‘Ogon’ spirea in early spring (Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’, Zones 4-8). Photo: Jason Reeves

 

‘Ogon’ spirea in late spring (credit: Jason Reeves)
‘Ogon’ spirea in late spring. Photo: Jason Reeves

 

‘Ogon’ spirea in fall (credit: Jason Reeves)
‘Ogon’ spirea in fall. Photo: Jason Reeves

 

‘Flying Dragon’ hardy orange (credit: Jason Reeves)
‘Flying Dragon’ hardy orange (Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’, Zones 5–9). Photo: Jason Reeves

 

Crimson pitcher plant (credit: Jason Reeves)
Crimson pitcher plant (Sarracenia leucophylla, Zones 6–8). Photo: Jason Reeves

 





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