Colors of November

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Colors of November

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru

The low light of November creates some sublime scenes by intensifying the fall hues. A walk through Powell Gardens offers a prime finale of the fall season.

4p.m. light on the Perennial Garden makes the towering 2o year old Baldcypresses show off their fine fall color to a tee. What better time to sit at the arbor and enjoy the scenery.

Sweetbay Magnolia’s (Magnolia virginiana) fall attire of subtle yellows compliments the composition of shrubs beneath it: from purple-red Concorde Barberry (left & background right) to orange Magic Carpet Spirea, glowing yellow Vintage Gold Falsecypress and blue-gray Lavender (right foreground). Look for this scene in the Fountain Garden.

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) decked out in fall attire of bronzy oranges and reds along the walk to the Fountain Garden.

Dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii) is known for some of the best fall colors in a hardy shrub. Here Green Giant Arborvitae provides a nice evergreen backdrop. Look for this scene between the Perennial Garden and Rock & Waterfall Garden.

Pink fall color is rare but is occasional in some viburnums like this self-sown seedling of Missouri Native Southern Arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) in the Rock & Waterfall Garden.

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) offers some of the best red fall color year after year — here at the south entrance to the Rock & Waterfall Garden.

Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum) offer some of the most intense red fall colors: almost like they are plugged in! This is foliage of the cultivar ‘Emperor I’ which is the best of the purple-leaved cultivars for our region as it is slower to leaf out in spring and rarely damaged by late frosts. This small tree is thriving in the shady Rock & Waterfall Garden.
This Zumi Crabapple (Malus x zumi ‘Calicarpa’) is completely studded with tiny red crabapples. A feast for the eyes in this season and literally a feast for the birds too as their winter larder. Look for these crabapples on the Island Garden.
Plants that stay evergreen are also standouts in this season like this clump of Lily-of-China (Rohdea japonica) in the Rock & Waterfall Garden. Looking like young corn plants, this long-lived perennial stays green all winter. Lily-of-China is a great companion to hostas for some winter interest when they leave the shade garden would otherwise be empty.
The flower beds around the Visitor Center are at peak with cool season, frost tolerant flowers and foliage. This bed contains pansies, lettuce, chrysanthemums, kale and fountain grass left from summer. All these plants hold well until Thanksgiving and often into early December depending on the weather.
The Poinsettia crop in the Powell Gardens’ greenhouses is looking as good as ever.
Poinsettias are a difficult crop to grow and need the lengthening nights (without any light pollution — even light from a street light!) to initiate the beautiful bracts that surround the tiny flowers. This week they will be installed in the conservatory, opening for public viewing on Saturday the 19th. Don’t let cabin fever set in and come walk through the late fall gardens and be inspired by late fall’s beautiful scenery.