May 12, 2014
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The Ontario countryside in the fall is a spectacularly colourful landscape that we all admire and enjoy. Many of us make special trips to view the brilliant colours of Maples and waysides adorned with Goldenrod and Asters. But where is the colour in our own garden?


In planning our gardens, we very logically begin at the beginning. Spring flowering bulbs are followed by the early flowering shrubs such as Flowering Almond, Japanese Cherries and others. We realize that these flower only for a short time and look for other shrubs and trees for continuing colour throughout the summer: Deutzia, Mockorgange, Weigela and of course, Roses.

Soon, our garden space is fully planted and only in September do we realize that we have neglected to include the late flowering shrubs and those with brilliant fall foliage. Burning Bush (Euonymus alatas) is one popular shrub that is widely used but there are many more that can enhance your garden in the fall and extend your season of colour to the fullest.

Colourful Vines
Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper (Engelman's Ivy) are highly colourful in fall. Virginia Creeper bears a heavy crop of black berries. Bittersweet Vine has colourful seed coverings. The three-parted orange husk opens to reveal bright orange and red fruit. Only the female plant bears fruit and must be planted together with a male plant for pollination.

The plants listed below will let you take advantage of the change of season and keep your garden interesting and colourful until the heavy frosts and first snow of winter.

Perennials for Fall Colour

Common Name Latin Name Colour
Sneezewort Achillea ptarmica white
Yarrow A. taygetea yellow
Monkshood Aconitum blue
Japanese Anemone Anemone japonica pink/white
Mugwort Artemisia lactiflora white
Italian Aster Aster amellus blue, purple
New England Aster A. novae-angliae purple, pink, white
New York Aster A. novi-belgii violet. (The Feast Day of St. Michael is September 29, and these asters are also called Michaelmas Daisy)
Boltonia B. asteroides white
Carpathian Harebell Campanula carpatica blue
Chrysanthemum C. x morifolium Garden Chrysanthemums come in a wide variety of colours and shapes
Coreopsis   yellow (flowering since June, will still be flowering in Sept.
Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea purple
Globe Thistle Echinops blue
Gallardia G. x grandiflora (still flowering since June) red and yellow
Sneezeweed Helenium autumnale bronze, yellow
Sunflower Helianthus x multiflorus & H. decapetalus yellow
Heliopsis Heliopsis yellow
Coralbells Heuchera (still flowering since May) red, pink, white
Rose Mallow Hibiscus moscheutos red, pink, white
Hosta 'Honeybells' blue
Hosta 'Royal Standard' (fragrant) white
Lamium L. maculatum lilac
Gay Feather (Blazing Star) Liatrus spp. lilac, purple, white
Cardinal Flower Lobelia cardinalis scarlet
Blue Cardinal Fl. L. siphilitica blue
Catmint Nepeta spp. blue
Giant Sundrop Oenothera missourensis yellow
Phlox Phlox paniculata (flowering since July)pink, white
False Dragonhead (Obedient Plant) Physostegia spp. white, pink, purple
Balloon Flower Platycodon spp. blue, white
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia spp. yellow
Sedum Autumn Joy Sedum spectabile pink, mauve
Greek Mallow Sidalcea spp. pink
Goldenrod Solidago spp. yellow

The fall flowering Goldenrod is maligned and ignored by Canadian gardeners, no doubt because it grows wild everywhere and is perhaps considered a weed. In Britain, where it is less common, Goldenrod is highly valued.

Trees for Fall Colour
Common Name Latin Name Colour
Sugar Maple Acer saccharum orange and red
Red Maple Acer rubrum red
Other Maples yellow, orange and red
Red Oak Quercus rubra red
Pin Oak Q. palustris red
Katsura Cercidiphylum orange-red
Ash Fraxinus mainly yellow
Mountain Ash Sorbus orange, red, yellow
Ginkgo Ginkgo bilobam yellow
Larch Larix yellow
Dawn Redwood Metasequoia golden

Shrubs for Fall Colour
Common Name Latin Name Colour
Wayfaring Tree Viburnum lantana purple/bronze
Arrowwood V. dentatum orange/red
Serviceberry Amelanchier yellow/orange
Smoketree Cotinus purple/red
Sumac Rhus orange/red
Blueberry Vaccinium orange
Dogwood Cornus reds and orange
Burning Bush Euonymus alatas red
Spindle tree E. europaea red
Amur Maple Acer ginnala red
Hedge Maple A. campestris yellow

Shrubs with Colourful Berries
Common Name Latin Name Colour
Coralberry Symphoricarpos purple/pink
Snowberry S. albus white
Cotoneaster Cotoneaster red
Firethorn Pyracantha orange/red
Holly Ilex red
Winterberry I. verticillata red
Cranberry Viburnum red
Redleaf Rose Rosa glauca red

Shrubs that Flower in the Fall
Common Name Latin Name Colour
Bluebeard Caryopteris blue
Butterfly Bush Buddleia purple, blue, pink, white
PeeGee Hydrangea Hydrangea white/pink
Witch Hazel Hamamelis yellow