As the weather changes and true fall sets in, all eyes turn to the trees.
It's a smart time to take a walk in the neighborhood, to really look at which trees are growing there and what colors they turn in fall. Then take the next step: have a critical look at your own yard. Is it time to plant a tree or shrub? If so, what kind might be right for your yard, and what fall color would be a smart addition for your home, your yard, and your neighborhood?
Often, the talk turns to red. But a visit to the Garden during October reveals the diversity of colors in nature's crayon box—yellow, orange, burgundy, bronze, purple, gold, tan, and red—and the wide-ranging choice of trees that produce those fall colors. In this edition of Smart Gardener, we'll focus on the wealth of golds.
If you need a shrub rather than a full-sized tree, native witch hazels put a twist on fall color, with yellow flowers that bloom amid the yellow leaves. 'Harvest Moon' drops its leaves early, the better to enjoy its starburst flower display. It's one of the landscape candidates now being trialed in the Bernice E. Lavin Plant Evaluation Garden.
Shrub willows are a modern choice—their color doesn't end with fall, as the stems turn brilliant shades of yellow-to-orange in winter (great for late-season floral arrangements!). At the Kleinman Family Cove, a half dozen different varieties create quite a show—and a great place to compare/contrast varieties.
Some conifers go gold, too. In the Dwarf Conifer Garden, two larches—the European larch and the Japanese larch—are deciduous conifers with needles that burst into bright yellow color before they fall from the tree.
Dogwoods are planted to transition from yellow to orange to red at the top of the Waterfall Garden—look for the bright golden yellow leaves of the yellowwood tree as you head down the steps there, too.