Invasive Fall Color

Invasive Fall Color

We have all been told of the dangers posed to the environment by invasive species. Zebra Mussels threaten our waterways, Tall reed grass is ruining our marshlands, and bordering any interstate, you’ll find Asian Bittersweet, Kudzu and Grape Vines. These offenders are easy for us to come to grips with, but not so those plants still sold in our nurseries and garden centers, and beloved for generations. Plants like Barberry and Burning Bush.
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Burning Bush Covers a woodland hillside in North Granby, CT.

Early spring is the time to get a glimpse of Barberries invasiveness, but now, in Autumn, is the time for Burning Bush. Sold for years as for it’s red foliage in the fall, Burning Bush (Euonymous alatus compactus) is used everywhere. It is planted next to bridges on the highway, used a a splash of color in the mixed border, and ironically widely used as a staple of the woodland garden because of its shade tolerance.

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Burning Bush shades out native plant species and reduces the biodiversity of the woodland.

Ironic, because it is here in the woodland, that Burning Bush poses the biggest problem. Thriving wthout the threat of major disease or pests, Burning Bush spreads fast and covers the forest floor, shading out the meager streams of light so needed by the native vegetation. It so thoroughly infests, that it effectively limits the diversity of flora, and in turn the fauna that make a healthy ecosystem.

Next time you think you need a plant with great red fall color, I hope you will turn your back on the Burning Bush for something equally as impressive, but not aggressive. Consider the elegant Enkianthus, or one of my personal favorites, and a great native, High Bush Blueberry. Ooh I can almost taste the blueberry cobler now……

Enjoy the Autumn color!

Scott

www.blueheronlandscapes.com

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for October

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for October

As October’s cool temperatures settle in, we find the garden slowly winding down for the season. Most plants have finished blooming, and many begin to die back with the onset of winter. But there is color to be found in the fall landscape, and oh so much more than the chrysanthemums that are found on every doorstep. Brilliant foliage, colorful berries, and even a few perennial flowers take center stage deep into the autumn season. And so, as the skies turn gray, and you feel a hint of snow this October, I hope you find enjoyment in these pictures of our autumn garden.
Remember you can click on each image to see a larger version.
Fall is the time for the Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) And ‘Gold Lace’ is putting on a show as we speak. Towering in the garden to a height of 6-8′ its bright yellow blossoms thrive in the moist soil of our meadow.
Helianthus 'Gold Lace'
Helianthus 'Gold Lace'
Bolton’s Aster (Boltonia asteroides ‘Snowbank’) is still managing to paint the garden with its white asterlike blossoms.
Boltonia 'Snowbank'
Boltonia ‘Snowbank’
Even the shaded areas of the garden offer up a display late in the season, as eveidenced by the Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnomomea). It lacy dark green foliage explodes in the fall, lighting up the dark corners with its golden brown hues. Visible from across the yard, it provides a welcome greeting home.
Osmunda cinnamomea
Osmunda cinnamomea
A plant I’m sure many of you have seen along the woodland and wetland edges, the Winterberry holly begins to make itself known to the caasual viewer. Its bright red berries will hang on the branches well after the foliage drops. That is, until our bird friends clean each branch, leaving only the stem until next spring’s leafout.
Ilex verticillata
Ilex verticillata
Blue Shadow Fothergilla (Fothergilla ‘Blue Shadow’) is a wonderful small shrub in the mixed border. It’ early creamy bottle brush flowers, give way to soft powder blue foliage, that eventually erupts as though it were a Sugar Maple. Reds, yellows and oranges consume the plant in autumn before finally dropping to the ground leaving an attractive branching habit to enjoy all winter. Truely a four season gem!
Fothergilla 'Blue Shadow'
Fothergilla ‘Blue Shadow’
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), a native vine, grows wildly in the woods surrounding our yard. This time of year it also turns a deep red, and is visible from many parts of the garden. Look for this beautiful vine climbing a white birch, and you will see Mother Nature at her creative best.
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
What would fall in New england be without maples. This Red Maple (Acer rubrum) never fails to impress, and is commented by nearly all who visit.
Acer rubrum
Acer rubrum
May you all find enjoyment in your Autumn Landscapes!
Scott