Dazzling views in the brilliant hues of fall are easy to achieve with layers of trees and shrubs. Our New Hampshire expert is here to guide your choices.
Trees and shrubs are the framework of a landscape; they settle your home, giving it character and a sense of place. By choosing woody plants with multiseason interest, you can appreciate their beauty all year. The bonus to this approach is that these plants require less of your time and energy than beds of annual and perennial plants. Trees and shrubs may need occasional pruning and mulching, but when planted well and sited for mature
size and cultural needs, you can have confidence in their growth and survival for many years. Take it from someone who turned to woody plants some years back—and I’m so happy I did. We have a fantastic view with less work.
Twenty years ago, when our children were very young, my husband and I tended a large fruit and vegetable garden. We built lovely landscape beds from scratch, filling them with flowers and ornamental grasses. But today, the edges of our landscape are accented with interesting trees and shrubs that add beauty all year round and that positively glow in autumn. Why the change? Our priorities over the years—raising kids and building careers—meant that we had much less time to spend planting and deadheading. We chose to collect distinctive woody plants to add to our pie-shape lot in coastal New Hampshire (USDA Zone 5). Flowers, grasses, and edibles are still here, but there are fewer of them, and they grow at the front of deeply layered tree and shrub borders.
“The edges of our landscape are accented with interesting trees and shrubs that add beauty all year round and that positively glow in autumn.” – Penelope O’sullivan
ABOVE Layers of color frame the house, leading the gaze higher and higher. RIGHT The finely textured, yellow fall leaves of Hubricht’s bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) create a vibrant accent in this mixed border that includes coarse textures from hydrangeas behind it and deep red blooms of tall sedum (Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’) in front.