au­tumn joy

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.

Country Gardens - - Garden Know-how - WRIT­TEN AND PRO­DUCED BY PENE­LOPE O’SUL­LI­VAN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY KINDRA CLINEFF

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.

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