1 Ackerman camellias ‘Winter’ series
Fall- and winter-flowering camellias thrive in our climate without pampering. My favorites are the fall-blooming hybrids bred by the late William Ackerman. In my garden, ‘Winter’s Charm’ starts to bloom in late October and keeps on blooming until after Thanksgiving. The soft pink flowers’ gently ruffled petals, with a splash of golden stamens in the center, stand out gracefully against the shrub’s deep green evergreen foliage.
2 Hollies (Ilex verticillata) Hollies of every description add sparkle to a garden through the winter. I’m partial to deciduous hollies, which drop their leaves in fall, revealing branches covered with bright berries. ‘Maryland Beauty’ (Ilex verticillata ‘Maryland Beauty’), which grows to about 5 feet tall, has a distinguished place in front of a big stand of tall, tawny switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in my garden. The tight clusters of berries turn from green to orange in August, becoming cherry red in early fall, and remain long after the foliage drops. Birds eat the berries, but usually not until sometime after the holidays.
3 ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) My garden feels incomplete without a few food crops. In mid-august or early September, I sow seeds of ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard in a raised bed. I thin the rows by snipping off tiny plants for salads, leaving plenty of room for the remaining plants to produce big, quilted leaves, with their vivid red, orange, and yellow ribs. As the weather turns, row covers protect my crop from freezing temperatures. I can count on picking a radiantly colorful and delicious harvest well into December. Marty Ross is a syndicated gardening columnist for Universal Uclick. She gardens and writes about gardens, gardeners, and gardening from her home in Tidewater, Virginia.
Camellia In the Southeast, fall is a mild, lingering season of surpassing beauty. Here are three charming and colorful plants that keep the landscape lively into the winter.