Crazy About Colchicum

autumn crocus horizontal There’s nothing like a field full of autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) to make a gorgeous, sunny September day seem even more perfect. When the bulbs are planted in a spread-out mass like this, the Wow Factor is just incredible! It makes for a stunning, spring-like display for those of us who get tired of the more classic autumn flowers like mums or asters, or the traditional fall hues of russet, gold, and ginger. Continue reading

Sweet Autumn Clematis Signals the End of Summer

Today is the autumnal equinox, that celestial event that officially marks the end of summer. But it was just after Labor Day, which for many people is really summer’s grand finale, that I started noticing the fluffy white blooms of sweet autumn clematis around my neighborhood. Here it is clambering around a white picket fence in a suburban front yard.

Sweet Autum Clematis on Fence Continue reading

Creating Architectural Effects with Evergreen Vines

Vines are probably the most versatile landscape plants around. No other plants can be used to create such a wide variety of effects.

Vines can soften and link architectural structures like arbors, fences, arches, and walls to the yards or gardens around them. They can also be used creatively to provide shade, privacy, flowers, ground cover, or fragrance.

I’ve seen vines described as lazy plants, because they have to rely on other plants or structures for support — but I’ve always thought of them as ambitious plants that will aim for the sky.

Here are a few creative uses of vines that caught my eye on a recent garden tour. Continue reading

Plant Beautyberry for Shockingly Purple Fall Berries

beautyberry morguefile

Photo credit: Morguefile

American beautyberry is an odd sort of shrub. By this I mean it’s hard to categorize. During the spring and summer it’s not really much to look at, just a generic looking bush that’s probably best placed in an informal setting. Not the kind of shrub you lust after…

Yet when it comes to calling attention to itself in the fall, this shrub is shameless! By late summer it’s already heavily adorned with clusters of berries so purple, they’re downright shocking. The berries hold their own through these cool, crisp days of September — but just wait until a bit later in the fall. In October and November, when the shrub has lost its foliage, the fruits are absolutely brazen on the leafless branches. Continue reading