Monday, November 4, 2013

Fall color I'm digging

This spring I went on the hunt for Fothergilla gardenii 'Jane Platt,' which was rumored to have the nicest fall color of all the fothergillas. She did not disappoint.

A few weeks ago some of the leaves starting changing, turning a screaming red at the tips.

Now it looks like this.

WHAT. Some of the green is deepening to a dusky purple that looks so nice with the hot carmine leaves.

I love! I read somewhere on the internet that its color can vary from year to year, though I can't find where anymore.

This spring I kept looking for 'Jane Platt' and finding only Fothergilla x intermedia 'Blue Shadow,' which has the most beautiful blue foliage. I am definitely making room for one of these next. Even if the fall show is half as good as Jane Platt I'll be happy.

Image source: Rick's Custom Nursery

I bought my Jane Platt from Gossler Farms Nursery, if you feel the need to add one to your garden.

I'm also deeply in love with my Spiraea japonica 'Magic Carpet.' In spring it is the most wonderful zinging chartreuse.

It mellows a bit in summer.

And then in the fall it turns every color imaginable.

I hesitated to add this shrub to my garden because it's used so widely in grocery store parking lots here. It's really tough and can take a lot of abuse, though it tends to get sheared into unsightly blobs by landscapers. I will never understand the need by landscaping crews to shear everything into blobs. I know it's fast and easy but it looks terrible.

When I am dictator people will prune with hand pruners until they've been deemed worthy of using tools of mass uglification like hedge trimmers. Anyway. I'm glad I added it to my garden because the color is totally doing it for me.

I just picked up another spirea for the front garden at Xera Plants recently: Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida. I waited until it lost almost all of its leaves to get my act together to take a picture, so this doesn't really show off the kaleidoscope of colors this native boasts. It's stunning.

One of my Epimedium 'Black Sea' went rogue and turned completely red.

. . . While the others look like this. If I could get them all to spread out, bulk up, and turn that blazing red color next to the Hakonechloa grass, I'd be the happiest of campers.

You know what else would make me happy? If I could go back in time and not buy this Sedum cauticola 'Lidakense', AKA "Clown whore sedum."



  1. Love your 'Jane Platt'...but I'm so torn...I also REALLY like that powdery blue foliage on Blue Shadow. I love almost all Spirea (especially 'Ogon'), but sadly, landscaping crews have almost ruined them for most people. I saw a plant at a garden recently and thought of was some sort of Ash (Sorbus) with some of the most intense fall color I've seen.

  2. Blue Shadow gets much bigger (5-6 x 5-6) where Jane Platt maxes out at 2-3 feet, if that helps future decision making. I definitely need something with true gold fall color. I can't believe you've been plant shopping without me!

  3. Oh, I love the Clown Whore. Poor thing, trying so hard. Love that Jane Platt too. It's a good thing so many plants turn such beautiful brilliant colors in the fall, because lots of other stuff just looks so terrible in its declining state. The colorful leaves make it easy to overlook the ugly.

  4. So true. Such a wonderful distraction they provide for their ugly neighbors!

  5. Beautiful, beautiful fothergillas. I have Mt. Airy and I have species gardenii. The species gardenii do vary their fall color each year, but never disappoint. One year they were solid butterscotch yellow all over, but usually they are kaleidoscope jewel tones like yours. Love your spireas too -- you picked some great plants for showy fall impact.

  6. Mt. Airy was the one I originally wanted but it gets just a touch too big for that spot. I think I'm going to be making room for a lot more!

  7. No such thing as a bad plant...just bad ways of using them. You obviously do not have that problem.

  8. I envy all your fall colors, even the clown whore sedum. (Is it really called that, or is that only your name for it?)

  9. I feel like I should just hand you my credit card. Every time I visit your blog I find a new plant that I must have! Now that I am getting rid of my second rose thanks to rose rosette disease, I have room for a fothergilla! I also secretly like the clown whore sedum.

  10. Where do you live? I'll take your credit card and you can have my poor clown whore sedum. ;)

  11. Some very nice autumn colour there! Funny you mentioned about the Spiraea, we nearly removed it as it was to be found everywhere here but it does well in its spot and has a nice colour so it was spared.

  12. portlandtreetour.wordpress.comNovember 5, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Great fall colors -- I was thinking today that landscape viewing in the last month has been like living inside a camera lens with the color setting on "vivid" -- too bright to believe, yet true! Who cares about the reputation of spirea -- I love nandina and it's as common as dirt! (I like spirea too, and even some varieties of abelia!)

  13. Yes! I've been wanting a Fothergilla. Nice to see a really hot one and that it's small is even better since I could surely shoehorn it into Longview Ranch somewhere...right?

  14. Love your colors! So why is that you don't like your clown whore sedum? It looks quite pretty to me.

  15. Then I have a present for you at the next plant exchange! There's just a little too much going on with that sedum for me. And I think everything is winding down and it's turning on the disco ball, so it feels really out of place to me.

  16. You definitely have room! Jane Platt stays nice and compact (supposedly). It was found in a Portland garden so I assume they aren't lying.