October 15, 2012

It's all about the foliage, baby!


Reasons why autumn is my favourite season as a Toronto gardener:

  • I was born in September
  • My wife was born in October
  • We were married in September
  • It's the best time to work outside
  • no bugs, no humidity, deals at the garden centres
and....
  • fall foliage!
Hamamelis x intermedia  Arnold Promise witchhazel fall colour by garden muses--a Toronto gardening blog
"Arnold Promise" witchhazel on fire, figuratively
Detail of Hamamelis x intermedia  Arnold Promise witchhazel fall colour by garden muses--a Toronto gardening blog
Detail of Hamamelis x intermedia "Arnold Promise" witchhazel leaf in autumn
This witchhazel at my clients, A & M's, has a different colouring than mine at home which has no red margin. Unusual and beautiful nevertheless. Another reason why you need a witchhazel in your garden and not another purple leaf sandcherry from a big box store!


Cotoneaster lucidis Hedge cotoneaster fall colour by garden muses--a Toronto gardening blog
Fall leaf colour and pome (fruit) of  Cotoneaster lucidis (Hedge cotoneaster)



Hedge cotoneaster fall colour by garden muses--a Toronto gardening blog
Oranges and russets of Cotoneaster lucidis  (Hedge cotoneaster) in autumn

You're likely more aware of "Coral Beauty" cotoneaster or Cranberry cotoneaster (C. dammeri and horizontalis cultivars)  with their vivid red berries but I came across a hedge type which I think has superior fall colouring. I don't see C. lucidis that often in nurseries. Maybe a good alternative to privet if you're considering putting in a hedge next year.


Acer ginnala Amur maple fall colour by garden muses--a Toronto gardening blog
Acer ginnala (Amur maple) fall colour

Acer ginnala Amur maple fall leaf colour by garden muses--a Toronto gardening blog
Acer ginnala (Amur maple) fall colour with a halo effect
Here are some shots of the Amur maple doing its autumn thing in my backyard. The leaves will only be on for about a week so I had to take some photos before they all drop. Acer ginnala is one tough and hardy maple. It's often sold multi-stemmed and shrubby. I prune mine as a tree form. My plant i.d. prof at Humber College called it a "poor man's Japanese maple" which I think is a bit unkind!



Cornus kousa var chinensis Chinese dogwood autumn foliage by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Cornus kousa var. chinensis
(Chinese dogwood) brilliant autumn foliage


Yet another reason to plant Cornus kousa (there are many wonderful cultivars to choose from) is the outstanding fall foliage. Chinese dogwood is one of the best plants I know with multi-seasonal interest.




Happy birthday to my wife today. 

As I tell her, gardening in the fall is all about the foliage, baby!



By Paul Jung, author of "garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog" Google Google Find us on Google+ Find us on Google+