Foliage Color In The Fall Garden – You can create all kinds of effects in the fall garden, from the quiet and gently atmospheric to the bold and bright. The scores of berries that start appearing now on shrubs and trees will, with luck, be with you until midwinter, keeping the garden interesting and colorful.
Fall can be a spectacular time in the garden, with foliage in a range of colors, from purples and crimsons to gold and palest yellow. Some deciduous trees and shrubs merely turn a dull brown, however, so you need to choose the varieties carefully to get the best show. Even for a tiny garden, you are sure to find a shrubs, climber or tree that will give a good display.
Why do leaves change color? The prime cause is dying leaf tissue, but the precise factors at work are not fully understood. The chlorophyll levels, which give leaves the dominant green color, fall, revealing previously obscured pigments, including red, orange, yellow and purple.
The red pigment is at its strongest now, in the fall. All this is triggered by shorter days, reduced light levels, falling temperatures, and high winds. The degree of brilliance varies from plant to plant, and is influenced by fall season light levels, night temperatures, soil fertility, and the length of the preceding winter. So if the colors in your garden change from year to year, that is the reason why.
Even if the display varies annually, depending on the conditions, some trees and shrubs are a must for the fall garden. One reliable performer is the katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum var. magnificum), whose leaves turn brilliant orange and then give off the scent of toffee as they fall to the ground.
The many forms of Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) are also perennially popular, and produce a variety of gorgeous rich colors. Some are small enough to grow in containers, and so are ideal for small gardens.