Botanists tell us that the fall leaf colors, those yellows, oranges, and reds, are in the leaves from the beginning but are masked by the green of chlorophyll for the duration of the growing season.
But as the days get shorter and colder, the plant makes less chlorophyll allowing the other colors to shine through.
It seems in my own garden that it has only been in the past few days that we’ve started to see those other colors.
There are the yellows of Amsonia tabernaemonta, Blue Dogbane
This is a perennial that dies down to the ground in the fall once it provides a nice spot of yellow in the perennial border.
There are the oranges, pinks, and more of Viburnum carlesii, Korean Spice Viburnum.
If you want a good, smaller Viburnum, this is the one to get.
And there are the reds of the Acer rubrum, Red Maple.
This is either ‘October Glory’ or maybe ‘Autumn Blaze’. I have another one that is either ‘Autumn Blaze’ or ‘October Glory’. I call them both ‘Autumn Blaze or October Glory’, all one name, because I forgot which one I planted in the front and which one in the back.
(I might have planted them in ‘alphabetical order’ front to back, making this one ‘October Glory’. But I’d never admit to doing something like that to keep track of which tree is which variety. Really, I do not recommend planting in alphabetical order unless you are running a nursery, and then it might make sense.)
We see other things in our gardens in the fall besides what colors were hidden underneath all that chlorophyll.
We see the true form of the trees and the branching that was hidden beneath the leaves.
As we cut back perennials and remove spent annuals, we see again the structure of the garden. We notice the size of the flower beds, the curves of the paths, the empty spaces.
We see potential and opportunities in open spaces and cleaned up flower beds.
Seeing all this bare garden in the fall gives us an opportunity to take a good, long look at the state of it all, and think about what we want to change. Then we have all winter to figure out what that change should be.