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Plan for a Gorgeous Fall Landscape

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Best Plants for Rock Gardens

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Fall-Color Garden Plan

This colorful flower garden looks great all season long, but really struts its stuff when autumn arrives.

Free Garden Plan

This cottage-style garden is lovely enough to grace your front entry area. Although it offers interest all year round, the main flower peak is midsummer continuing into fall. Stalwarts like coreopsis and daylily provide long seasons of summer bloom. As the days grow shorter, asters, mums, sedum, and other fall bloomers come into their own.

Fall-Themed with Year-Round Interest

Because this design was intended for front yard use, year-round interest was critical. To maintain an attractive look after the ground freezes, the garden includes ornamental grasses, a fruit-bearing Sargent crab, and a weeping white spruce.

See the following pages for complete lists of plants, including alternative plants for gardeners in the far South.

Plant List, Part 1

Plant List: (A) Stonecrop (Sedum telephium 'Matrona'; Zones 4-9). (B) Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'; Zones 5-9. (C) Eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurascens; Zones 4-9). (D) New England aster (Aster novae-angliae 'Alma Potschke'; Zones 4-8). (E) Sunflower (Helianthus x multiflorus 'Flore Pleno"; Zones 5-9). (F) Rose (Rosa 'Purple Pavement'; Zones 5-8). (G) Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis; Zones 3-9). (H) Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns'; Zones 3-9). (I) Coreopsis (Coreopsis 'Limerock Ruby'; Zones 4-9). (J) Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink'; Zones 6-9). (K) Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues'; Zones 5-9). (L) Helenium (Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'; Zones 4-8). (M) Weeping white spruce (Picea glauca 'Pendula'; Zones 3-6). (N) Chrysanthemum (Dendranthema weyrichii 'Pink Bomb'; Zones 4-7). (O) New England aster (Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'; Zones 4-8).

Plants of Note

'Happy Returns' daylily is a repeat bloomer, just like its famous parent 'Stella d'Oro', but it has lemon yellow flowers instead of golden yellow. It reaches about 2 feet tall.

'Shenandoah' switchgrass grows about 4 feet tall and very straight, but it easily sways in the wind without flopping. Its bright green foliage turns maroon in fall.

'Purple Dome' New England aster is a dwarf perennial that grows 18 inches tall and 30 inches wide. It is mildew resistant and features mounds of deep-purple flowers.

Plant List, Part 2

Plant List: (B) Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'; Zones 5-9). (C) Eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurascens; Zones 4-9). (E) Sunflower (Helianthus x multiflorus 'Flore Pleno'; Zones 5-9). (F) Rose (Rosa 'Purple Pavement'; Zones 5-8). (H) Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns'; Zones 3-9). (I) Coreopsis (Coreopsis 'Limerock Ruby'; Zones 4-9). (J) Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink'; Zones 6-9). (L) Helenium (Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'; Zones 4-8). (N) Chrysanthemum (Dendranthema weyrichii 'Pink Bomb'; Zones 4-7). (O) New England aster (Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'; Zones 4-8). (P) Sargent crab apple (Malus sargentii; zones 4-8). (Q) Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium fistulosum 'Gateway'; Zones 3-7).

Plants of Note

'Gateway' Joe Pye weed is a tall plant with a colorful presence, thanks to huge (up to 18 inches wide) flower heads that are favored by butterflies.

'Siskiyou Pink' gaura grows 18-24 inches tall but is airy enough to see through. From June till frost it offers many rose-pink flowers well above the foliage.

'Flore Pleno' sunflower grows 5-7 feet tall and 30 inches wide and features a multistemmed habit brimming with unique double blooms.

Alternative Plants for Warm Climates

If you live in the sunny South and need plants that can take the heat, try these substitutions:

1. For New England aster, substitute Stokes' aster (Stokesia laevis 'Blue Danube' or 'Blue Star'), Zones 5-9; or Snowflake (Bacopa 'Snowflake'), Zones 9-10 (but grown as an annual in colder Zones).

2. For crab apple, substitute Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), Zones 4-9; or staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina 'Dissecta'), Zones 3-9.

3. For Eupatorium fistulosum 'Gateway', substitute Eupatorium purpureum, Zones 3-9; or yarrow (Achillea 'Wesersandstein'), Zones 3-9.

4. For weeping white spruce, substitute Southern yew (Podocarpus macrophyllus 'Maki'), Zones 7-10; or Himalayan weeping juniper (Juniperus recurva), Zones 7-10.

5. For Chrysanthemum 'Pink Bomb', substitute fleabane Erigeron 'Summer snow'), Zones 5-8, or Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum), Zones 5-8.

Plants of Note

Hostas are good space fillers for shade and semishade. Their large leaves add an interesting texture to the setting, especially when paired with the bladelike foliage of grasses and daylilies.

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