The Other Fall Colours
It's hard to think of fall without conjuring up images
of sugar maples decked out in fire engine reds and pumpkin oranges.
Perhaps it part of our cultural heritage as Canadians. Of course,
on this coast, the best our native maples can manage is a crispy
yellow-brown, but we make up for it by planting exotics like
Japanese Maple and Katsura to give us the fiery colours we crave.
This makes for brilliant fall streetscapes, but for those
who like to set themselves apart from the crowd, consider the
other colours of fall. There is a whole palette of fall bloomers
in the blue-purple-pink range. Michaelmas daisies, for example,
are commonly found in a pleasant lilac, but are also available
in pink and white. Chrysanthemums are also available in soft
pinks and whites, if you can manage to look past the more eye-catching
shades on display.
Certainly, you can add any of these pastel colours to your
fall mix. The purple Michaelmas Daisy looks wonderful next to
a Deciduous Azalea in full flame. But for a knockout combination,
think about leaving out the fiery shades almost completely. This
works best up against an evergreen backdrop - choose a spot backed
by cedars, fir, ceonothus, rhododendrons, and that sort of thing.
I prefer the dark green shades of Yew and ceonothus, but "evergreys"
like blue spruce work well too.
Some plants to consider for your pastel fall garden (in
addition to the Daisies and Chrysanthemums already mentioned)
include: Japanese Anemone, Lambs Ears,
Lavendula stoechas, Salvia, Globe Thistle, Hebe, Hydrangea, the
pale pink hardy Fuchsia, hardy Plumbago (Ceratostigma), and Blue
Spirea (Caryopteris) if you can get it to survive. Knockout Dahlias
are available in nearly every shade of pink, purple and white.
In addition to shrubs and perennials, there are many annuals
that will happily bloom until cold nights
take them out. Among the pansies, violets, sweetpeas, lobelia,
alyssum, and nigella you'll find plenty of plants that enjoy
fall weather and will harmonize with your chosen scheme.
To tie your pastel scheme into the outside world of red
tones, include a little Vera Jameson, a sedum with dark greyish-burgundy
leaves. Another great bridger is Plumbago, for the flowers are
true blue, while the apple-green leaves can turn a brilliant
fall red in sunny, dry conditions. It's taken me a long time
to warm up to this tiny shrub, but I'm finding it more and more
I hope this inspires you to try a little patch of non-traditional
colour in your fall garden this year. Even a few of the above
suggestions grouped together will add a touch of unusual beauty
that will draw your eye again and again, and give a soothing
contrast to the inferno of colour raging in the rest of the garden.