year has been damp and cold and thus I have been unable to get out and
work in the garden as much as I would like. As a result I have been
spending some of my time writing. I have a big picture window in my office
that looks out over the front yard and a big window in the dining area
that looks out over the backyard so I can observe what is going on. During
this “different” October I have noticed some colors brighter than
Out front there
is a brilliant red and yellow Chokeberry (not Chokecherry) that has been
slowly taking over any available space near a Climbing Blaze Rose. It did
have numbers of black berries hanging on but birds, especially robins have
removed them. The lower ones
they simply jumped up and snacked. The others were harder to get as the
branches aren’t too steady so they had to balance on a swing while
In the parkway
not far from there is a Washington Hawthorne (Crataegus phaenopysum)
solidly covered with red berries. Still
holding its leaves that are now bright red or yellow, it is a fat little
tree, not very tall. About
forty years ago when trees were not usually in the parkway I had to get a
permit for three Hawthorn in front and three Crab Apples on the west
parkway. But the Halloween
storm we had a few years ago removed the other two Hawthorns. The snow was
too heavy on top of the crop of berries and leaves and they collapsed.
This one is the only one to recover. Lincoln lost a large number of
Hawthorns during that Halloween snowstorm.
Some years the Cedar Waxwings get here first.
They travel in a rather large group and all settle in the tree to
eat berries till they are gone. Other
In the back is
a Beauty Berry (Callicarpa sp.) only about 6 feet tall whose branches are
covered with purple berries usually described as beads.
Some Beauty Berries are not hardy in our Hardiness zone #5 so check
before you buy. I worry every
fall that we might have a hard frost before the berries are purple. If
this happens then I cut them down to the ground. It
takes them awhile to get started in Spring.
This fall I
added 3 more Caryopteris out in front of my fence where Roses have been
for so many years that they are declining. They were over 20 years old.
Sometimes called Blue Spirea or Bluebeard Shrub, there are many different
shades of blue. About 3 feet
tall, they bloom on new wood so I leave them stand all winter before
cutting all the way to the
ground in the spring. This way
they trap leaves and snow for some winter protection. As a late bloomer
they are very popular with a variety of pollinator insects.
The leaves have a silvery tint. Two new seedlings appeared this
spring so if this keeps up I may develop a blue hedge by the fence.
Toad Lilies (Tricyrtis
sp.) are a late bloomer for shade. They
only grow about 2 feet high. As
they bloom so late I have never gotten any seed.
The flowers are weird looking. I can not see anything Toad about
them with their spots and stripes. A
number of the species are not hardy in our Zone #5 but Tricyrtis hirta
also called Tricyrtis japonica will be. When they first come up rabbits
enjoy them so I cage until they are several inches high.
called Blanket Flower or Indian Blanket, did not even notice we had our
first frost and kept on blooming in bright reds, yellows, and oranges.
Some are biennials, some perennials, and are natives of North and
. They do need to be dead
headed to keep blooming into the fall.
Only about 18 to 24 inches tall I have them on the parkway as poor
dry soil doesn’t affect them a great deal.
have developed a number of varieties all in those same color combinations
with centers (disk flowers) in purple and brown.
Perennials will bloom in their first year if you get them started
early. They last a long time
in a bouquet. I am not sure
how the seeds travel but I do find new plants some distance away. There
are some double forms but I prefer the singles because of the contrast to
the disk that is covered and thus hidden in the doubles.
MULTIPLE SEASON INTEREST PLANTINGS
FROM UNL EXTENSION HORTICULTURE
selecting landscape plants, those that provide interest during more than
one season are good choices. A
plant that is beautiful for one or two weeks while blooming, but not
highly ornamental the rest of the year is not as valued for landscapes.
Now is a good time to evaluate landscapes for interest during fall
and winter season. Make note of plants that, along with providing interest
to the landscape this past spring and summer, now have good fall color,
are still green after the hard freeze, have interesting seed heads or
fruit that will cling to the plant through the winter, or have attractive
bark or branch patterns, and so on. With limited space, landscape plants
that provide interest in multiple seasons are good choices.”
Reprinted from “Hort
Update for the week of