Fall in Massachusetts is synonymous with a spectacular display of color. Everywhere you look plants seem to be vying for your attention. Here are a few fall favorites that really shine through at the end of the growing season.
Sourwood – Oxydendrum arboretum
This tree has a very elegant upright form with long glossy leaves. The bark becomes deeply fissured with age in a pleasing symmetrical pattern. The tree was used by Native Americans for many purposes including treating cramps and as a laxative. This plant is truly exceptional in the fall taking on brilliant shades of red to orange with graceful white flowers hanging over the top. It is really a very unique show stopper.
Blue holly – Ilex meserveae ‘blue princess’
This is one of the most cold-hardy evergreen shrubs that does a great job delivering year-round interest! Spring offers tiny white flowers and light green new foliage which contrast nicely against the blue-green old growth. Summer creates greenish berries that ripen in autumn to stunning clusters of brilliant red and tend to persist through the winter. It’s no wonder ilex is sought after by artisans to help create their winter décor as well as by small animals for food during the colder months. The berries are only found on the female plants, however, as hollies are dioecious (either male or female). These shrubs can take on various forms, from conical to spreading, so they are versatile in the landscape, but avoid planting in exposed locations as this can lead to winter desiccation.
Asters – Symphyotrichum Asteraceae
There are over 90 species of asters, which can be thought of as the daisy’s eccentric sister. There are many different heights and colors available, but there is something special about the classic native lavender blooms that will always signify the end of summer and give a warm welcome to fall here in Massachusetts.