As long as the ground is not frozen, shrubs and trees may be planted in December. When choosing plants for the landscape, consider a few plants that will be lovely in the fall.
As I write this column in late November, I’m amazed at how much color is left in the woods and in our landscape. The hardwood trees on the hill behind our home display foliage that has turned a mixture of light yellow and bright golden yellow amid muted shades of orange and red. Of course the pine and cedar trees in the woods remain green. The hill is lovely.
In past years, we planted several Japanese maples around our landscape that display lovely red foliage during spring summer and fall. However, there are a couple of Japanese maple trees that present yellowish-green foliage during the spring and summer, which changes to a brilliant red color in the fall.
A couple of stands of ansomia Hubrechtii (a perennial plant) have lovely wispy green foliage and tiny blue star-shaped flowers in the spring that become a beautiful golden yellow in the fall. The foliage on these plants has faded and needs to be pruned. Five Bradford pear trees near the bottom of the front slope remain attractive, in multiple shades of red.
Also in our landscape, three burning bush shrubs that have green foliage during the spring and summer transform into beautiful red foliage each fall.
A few nandina domestica compacta shrubs display variegated colors of green, yellow and orange foliage during the spring and summer that converts to beautiful red foliage each fall. The compacta nandinas remain small, forming a lovely round-shaped canopy, and they are not invasive the way the native nandinas are in this area. These shrubs display insignificant star-shaped white flowers in late spring, and they have lovely red berries in the fall. In spite of the common name for nandina, which is heavenly bamboo, they are not a member of the bamboo family, although the stem of the plant does resemble bamboo.
Carol (Bonnie) Link is an Etowah County Master Gardener and an experienced garden writer. Her weekly column is designed to help and encourage others in their gardening endeavors. Send questions or comments to email@example.com.