More native plants for fall color

I love autumn, and I particularly love watching it slowly unfold. And I most particularly love the colors of our native plants. Nowhere else on earth, to my knowledge, do leaves turn the brilliant scarlets and oranges our sugar maples achieve. Right now, every sugar maple seems to have one bright-colored branch, as if it’s teasing us with the beauty to come.

But even our native perennials turn gorgeous colors in fall. Following are three photos not of my garden but of a nearby garden that I designed and installed. Note the beautiful and harmonious effect of the remaining flowers with the colors of the leaves and even the seedpods. I’ve never seen milkweed seedpods turn such gorgeous colors as you’ll see in the second photo; in the third, note the contrasting reds of the penstemon and sundrops foliage.

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Back to my own garden, where the delicate, silvery seeds of little bluestem grass are now a main focus:

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In one perennial border, white now dominates, with little bluestem, heath aster, and white snakeroot vying for attention against a background of yellow elderberry leaves:

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In another, purple asters and multicolored foliage compete with the silver grasses:

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And amidst the signs of decay (which is what fall colors are), note the bright green foliage signalling lush and healthy growth next spring.

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