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Colors of Autumn – Shifting Over the Garden

Yellow twig dogwood in golden glory

The autumn colors of the yellow twig dogwood are very different from summer colors. Now the foliage is golden yellow, brilliant when the sun is shining on it. Though it is named “yellow TWIG” I have  always found the yellow twigs to me are more chartreuse or lime when the winter sun is shining on it, but now the autumn colors of the foliage are definitely yellow and gold. We love this shrub because the shrub loves water and doesn’t mind the seasonal flood.

Itea virginica “Henry’s Garnet”

If your husband’s name is Henry it is required that your garden include Itea virginica “Henry’s Garnet.” Fortunately “Henry’s Garnet” is a beautiful shrub, green in spring and summer with tiny fragrant white flowers borne in cylindrical, drooping racemes (3-6″ long) which cover the shrub with bloom in late spring to early summer. The autumn colors of the foliage turn to shades of plummy red and purple.

Itea virginica “Henry’s Garnet” closeup

The autumnal sun shining on this shrub is subtle but beautiful.  I have to say  that in addition to the pleasure of having “Henry” in the garden, there is also the pleasure in knowing that this shrub loves water and is listed as a good rain garden plant. It certainly thrives happily in our very wet garden.

Fothergilla “Mount Airy”

Fothergilla is named after Dr. John Fothergill (1712-1780), English physician and botanist, and “Mount Airy” is named after the Mt. Airy Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio where Michael Dirr discovered the hybrid form. My “Mount Airy” has grown to almost five feet tall. White bottlebrush flowers (2-3 inches long) have  a honey scented fragrance when the flowers bloom April to May.

Fothergilla “Mount Airy” closeup

The foliage turns tender shades of yellow, orange and red-purple in fall. This is a wonderful shrub in every season.

I sigh when I think of the coming of Winter, a season of grays and white. But I just realized that with the arrival of hellebores and crocuses in early March I can rejoice in nine seasons of color in the garden.

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