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Fall is For Planting

It’s mid-October and color in my garden comes in shades of peachy apricot, lavender and rose from Rosa ‘Perle d’Or,’ single apricot chrysanthemums, lavender asters and the faded flower heads of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva.’  Still to come is the show that Amsonia hubrichtii puts on when its mass of willowy foliage turns brilliant yellow and  the Japanese maple Acer palmatum ‘Sangu Kaku’ whose leaves  turn yellow before they drop off  to reveal red stems and a red  trunk.

Osmanthus fragrans aurantiacus

Osmanthus fragrans aurantiacus

The Southern autumn garden offers an abundance of interesting plants, including those with fabulous flowers, striking foliage and colorful fruits.  And, let’s not forget our extended growing season.  Fall with its cooler temperatures (and this year plenty of moisture) offers the ideal time to add plants to our gardens.  This includes winter vegetables, shrubs, trees, perennials, bulbs and cool season annuals like pansies and violas.    I have already planted some Peach Frost Sorbet violas with wonderful pastel colors and this weekend I  will add  Darwin Hybrid red tulips called ‘Comeback’ which Brent Heath of Brent and Becky’s bulbs (www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com )  says will come back reliably.

As a garden writer often I am challenged to come up with sources for new and unusual plants that I am excited about so I was thrilled to visit GardenHood, an inspiring  new garden center in Atlanta with an extensive offering of  ornamental plants.  Don’t expect your standard nursery with plants grouped by type, instead they have created rooms of color combinations.  One that I really like is the yellow group, highlighting plants with yellow flowers, foliage and even bark.  A sampling includes the selection of Florida anise, Illicium floridanum ‘Florida Sunshine’ with golden leaves and red stems, a juniper, Juniperus conferta ‘All Gold’ and the striking bark of the Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘ Bihou.’

Acer palmatum 'Bihou'

Acer palmatum 'Bihou'

A variegated Chinese holly, Ilex cornuta ‘O’Spring,’ with foliage that is green, cream and gold, is a plant I have written about but this is the first place I’ve seen it offered for sale.   A selection of Arborvitae, Thuja plicata ‘Daniellow’ also grabbed my attention.

In an effort to address the needs of  urban and surburban gardeners with small or tight spaces, GardenHood offer a number of shrubs and trees for special situations such as fastigiate trees for narrow planting spaces like the sweet gum Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Slender Silhouette,’   the fringe tree, Chionanthus retusus ‘Tokyo Tower’ and the columnar  hornbeam Carpinus betulus ‘Franz Fontaine.  A dwarf parrotia called ‘Henny Dwarf’ grows only 15 to 20’ tall with colorful fall foliage and handsome peeling bark.  Perfect for containers is the dwarf Japanese zelkova, Zelkova serrata ‘Goblin’ which matures at 4’ tall.  I have always enjoyed our native sweetbay magnolia and was charmed to meet the  dwarf cultivar, Magnolia virginiana var. australis ‘Sweet Thing.’   For the winter color in pots, the tiny  Chameacyparis pisifera filifera ‘Snow’ is ideal especially in combination with colorful violas.

Ilex cornuta 'O'Spring'

Ilex cornuta 'O'Spring'

Screening is an issue for gardens, both large and small, and some of GardenHoods offerings include hardy Loquats and evergreens like  Viburnum tinus ‘Spring Bouquet, ’ Viburnum odartissimum ‘Awabuki ,’ and, covered in fragrant orange flowers in autumn, the selection of tea olive, Osmanthus fragrans aurantiacus.

Many of the plants I talked about as well as numerous  others are available for purchase at GardenHood, located at 353 Boulevard, Atlanta, GA 30316, 404-880-9848  www.gardenhoodatlanta.com

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