Garden Photo of the Day

A Delayed but Brilliant Fall in PA

By Kim Charles

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Red Dragon’


Kevin Kelly shows us his fabulous fall highlights in PA

“The warm and dry summer that gripped the Mid-Atlantic has spilled into Autumn. The brilliant colors that usually abound by the 3rd week of October in Harrisburg, PA, are now only developing in November. The leaves of some trees are just going brown and dropping. My Hydrangea quercifolias have not even begun to develop fall color. This first weekend of November was sunny and in the upper 60’s. I wanted to share some of the colors of Autumn that have developed. My garden is 20 years old and forever changes. When we had the house built on this 0.44 acre property, there were no garden plants on the land (only weeds). My garden has changed as my style and skill has matured. I also want to thank all the posters on GPOD who inspire me with your beautiful gardens. I hope you enjoy the photos. Kevin Kelly.”

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Little Kitten’
Fothergilla gardenii
Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’
Rhamnus frangula ‘Fine Line’
Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Skyracer’
Stachys byzantina, Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’, Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’
Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’ (this is the first tree I planted)
Backyard from the patio
Acer tegmentosum ‘White tigress’

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 11/14/2016

    Great to see the post of your colourful autumn/fall gardens today, Kev. Love your spectacular Japanese maples (absolute rippers); the structure of your 'Little Kitten', 'Skyracer' and 'Fine Line'; and your passion for gardening. You are not only a talented gardener, but an outstanding photographer. Thanks for an interesting and uplifting post, mate.

    FYI the weather pattern here in SE Australia has also been different from normal. It has been unusually cool for our spring. The seasons seem to be moving forward during the year down here.

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Frank, the weather has sure been weird. We started out wet and cold (and had a large snowfall in April, but then turned into the 2nd warmest summer on record (plus very dry). Wonder if you are going to follow that pattern.

      Check out the bonus photos I just added.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 11/14/2016

        Great bonus addition of GPOD today, Kev. Good work!

  2. user-7007498 11/14/2016

    Bonus photos: Additional fall photos I took yesterday.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 11/14/2016

      Boy you have been busy, Kev. Wonderful pics. to add to your other classy photos.

    2. wGardens 11/14/2016

      Wonderful, Kevin! Thanks so much for such a treat! What is the plant with the white berries?

      1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

        Thanks, Margaret. The plant is Callicarpa dichotoma forma albifructa 'Duet'. I grow this beautyberry for its variegated foliage. The white berries are lost until the leaves drop. I attached a photo of the plant 2 months ago.

        1. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/14/2016

          Who needs berries?!

          1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

            For sure. This plant, once established also handles drought like a champ. Full sun, no supplemental watering. Great flowing form. What a stud plant.

        2. wGardens 11/15/2016

          Thanks, Kevin! I have only seen the Callicarpa with the purple berries (which I have but they never get fully developed before a frost zaps it) This one looks well worth growing for the leaves and form alone!

    3. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/14/2016

      Art. No doubt about it.

      1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

        Thanks, Tim. I love photography and gardening so much. I suspect most avid gardeners enjoy both. Today I loved sharing both.

  3. User avater
    user-7007816 11/14/2016

    Kevin, We have enjoyed a similar late, colorful fall in central Michigan. What a beautiful set of trees, grasses, and perennials you put together. Your trees are spectacular!

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks, Dale. Autumn color has been very delayed. The pictures on the blog were 1 week ago, and the bonus pictures were from yesterday (I just added them). The Hydrangea quercifolias are just turning color now, and a few Japans maples are only now in full peak color. I still have impatiens and petunias in full bloom, which is really weird for zone 6b

  4. user-7007498 11/14/2016

    Bonus photos: Halloween. A few pictures. We had about 100 kids visit the house that night. Very fun.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 11/14/2016

      There is no end to this treat, Kev. You certainly got into the Halloween spirit!

    2. User avater
      meander_michaele 11/14/2016 many fun and celebratory vignettes. Thanks for showing me that my inner child is alive and well .

  5. Jay_Sifford 11/14/2016

    Autumn is such a magical and beautiful time of year. Your garden wears it well and you are wise enough to open your eyes and celebrate it. Thanks for sharing, Kevin.

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks, Jay. Love the cool weather and the colorful changes in the garden. I don't even mind the ultimate transition to winter (for about 4 weeks). By then, plant catalogs have arrived, I've been scouring websites, and will be ready to go again.

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/14/2016

    Well, Kevin, thanks to your generous inclusion of additional pictures. Today's gpod is kind of like a Matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls)...the fun of discovery just keeps going! You must feel such paternal pride over the significant canopy your 'October Glory' now picked a great variety to have "first tree planted" status. Does your fothergilla get a good bit of sun? It is displaying fall color like garden writers rhapsodize about. I have some 'Mt, Airy' that just never get that colorful and I always feel gypped when I look at them. I think they are in too much shade. Everything looks wonderful.

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks, Michaele. I always love the images and word play in your posts ("nesting dolls"). I am glad that my post could keep giving and giving. I just had so many photos to share.
      I have 3 fothergilla gardenii, all get part sun. They all colored up great this year. They look neon in their color (the photos couldn't do them justice).

  7. VikkiVA 11/14/2016

    Brilliant is a good word for your garden Kevin. Thanks so much for sharing all the color. Love that ghost!! Vikki in VA.

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks, Vikki. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  8. user-4691082 11/14/2016

    Bonus doesn't even cover it! And to think that John and I drove the Skyline drive and the Blue Ridge parkway 2 weeks ago! The color in my neighborhood was better... what is the orange and red acer in the photo with the lamium? Spectacular. Does your beautiful bluestem 'ovation' have fall color? Your gardens are fabulous always! How bout that Sambucus?

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks, Rhonda. Hope you enjoyed the drive, nonetheless. The photo you questioned, I think, is the one where I took a fallen leaf from Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium', and laid it on the Lamium for that picture.
      Standing Ovation Little Bluestem has reddish hues throughout the grass as the weather cools. Very cool, and one of my favorite grasses.

  9. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/14/2016

    The only thing around here with good color is sumac. Even my sweet gums that I adore have brown leaves. Love seeing all your colors.

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Sad to hear that. I know the prolonged heat and dryness affected fall color for many trees. I had a few that disappointed, but many others that took over the show.

  10. sumhillgardener 11/14/2016

    Lovely ! I have some of the same plants and trees which are so brilliant right now. However, I am falling down in the Halloween decor ! Isn't the Molinia Skyracer amazing?! I love the view from your patio on the hill with lovely views in the distance. My fothergilla is probably the show winner at this moment. Great job Kevin !

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks, Sally. The Molinia is amazing. I like to plant it in the front of the border, since it is a great see-though grass in bloom.

  11. user-5117752 11/14/2016

    Simply marvelous pics and gardens!!! And, thank you most of all for labeling each one! Wish everyone would do that. This was a great way to start my day!!!

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks Judy. I do think it helps to have the plants labeled, especially since we have GPOD readers all over the world.

  12. user-6536305 11/14/2016

    Beautiful and well maintained garden. Love Acer tegmentosum 'White tigress' and your lawn and garden and photos. Love your Halloween decorations. What is the orange flowering plant in the first Halloween photo and right hand side? Thanks for sharing your beautiful work.

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks so much, Lillian. The bark on Acer tegmentosum is also stunning, especially in the winter and early spring.

      The photo you are referring to has Lantana in the foreground, and Zinnias in the background. That is my annual bed, which I change up every year, with different colors and types of plants and different arrangements.

  13. sheila_schultz 11/14/2016

    What a way to start off our GPOD week, thanks Kim and Kevin! It's incredibly hard too believe that next week will bring Thanksgiving to those in the US when your gardens, like so many others around the country, look like a color filled day in mid-Oct.! You have created and lovingly planted such natural beauty surrounding your home, Kevin... your design style just keeps getting better and better. Delightful!
    BTW, before we went on our trip mid Oct. I cut down my Denver gardens in prep for the typical snow and cold we expected to find when we returned early Nov. We apparently have had nothing but warm, sunny and very dry days and I now have daisies and perennial geraniums blooming like it is springtime! Unreal!

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks, Sheila. It has sure been a crazy gardening year. I have some Cherry Laurels that were in full bloom 2 weeks ago. I also have echinacea that are sending up new flowering spikes. The surprises that the garden brings is one of the things that makes it so fun.

      1. sheila_schultz 11/14/2016

        Mother Nature definitely keeps us on our toes and challenges almost always allow us to bring in fun, new, curious plants that we've been wanting to try. Yep... it is fun!

  14. wGardens 11/14/2016

    Kevin, that "Red Dragon" is fabulous! And the grasses are also stand-outs. Your photos are always such a wonderful start to the day- and- an inspiration!

  15. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/14/2016

    I'm afraid that if I give any more compliments, you are going to think far too highly of yourself, Kevin! (Of course, you really probably should!) Knocking it out of the park as usual. Gorgeous. The back patio in the low, autumn sun makes me weak in the knees.
    No garden year has ever been exactly the same for me; challenges abound, but it is great to take time to see what is beautiful and see how some plants are stalwarts and are up to the challenge. I wish I were more resilient, but often I am a whiny baby when it comes to the garden! :)

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Tim, thanks. You are so right, the low sun angles create incredible beauty in the garden. It is so energizing after getting the the late summer heat and humidity.

  16. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 11/14/2016

    Kevin, so nice to see your garden this morning and thanks for all of the extra photos. Your Red Dragon is beautiful. We have two but with the many wind storms that we've had this fall, the leaves have been blown away before they could give us a show. Climate change here in the PNW has meant wetter and a bit colder weather than usual unlike what you're experiencing out there. Thank you also for the moon photo as it has been too cloudy to see that super giant.

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks, Linda. Please send some of that "wet" over here. I had an order of 600 bulbs that I planted 2 weeks ago, and everywhere that I dug, was bone dry. If we get a cold winter, without snow, I am afraid there will be some plant losses. Have been watering my new acquisitions.

      We lucked out with 2 cloudless nights. The moon was awesome.

      1. user-6536305 11/14/2016

        What type of 600 bulbs that you just planted please? Squirrels (or may be rats) have eaten all my tulips last year. What types of bulbs are squirrels or rats proof?

        1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

          I was planting daffodils, colchicum, alliums and galanthus. I have found all these to be pretty pest resistant.

          1. user-6536305 11/15/2016

            Thanks Kevin! That helps a lot!

      2. User avater
        LindaonWhidbey 11/15/2016

        Kevin. 600 bulbs?!! Now that is ambitious! I planted about 200 last fall and I thought that my back would break. Of course, we have very rocky soil. Please submit pics in the spring as I'd love to see the results.

  17. schatzi 11/14/2016

    Kevin, your home and garden and photos are gorgeous! Love the Red Dragon and the Little Kitten is adorable! I'll have to find one. The leaf colors and textures in the most recent pics are incredibly beautiful. Love it all. Hope your family and neighbors appreciate the arboretum in their midst. Great job.

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks so much, Shirley. The Red Dragon is awesome, because it stays a dark maroon through the heat of the summer, then gets scarlet in the winter.
      LIttle Kitten is my favorite Miscanthus. That photo is a 3 year old grass, that I had divided into 3 pieces in early spring. Despite that, it recovered well and looks stunning. Only gets 4 feet tall in bloom and stays looking good through the winter.

      1. schatzi 11/15/2016

        Kev, you are inciting my plant lust! First the Miscanthus and now a variegated beauty berry? Gotta have it! What a beauty.

  18. schatzi 11/14/2016

    P.S. Even a super moon shot! I did not see it - too many clouds.

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      We have had 2 cloudless days, so the timing was perfect.

  19. Meelianthus 11/14/2016

    Kevin ~ I always enjoy scenes from your gardens. Your 'first ' tree planted is a real winner. Isn't it fun to watch your labors grow into beautiful scenery. I love your backyard patio view, you have definitely been rewarded for all of your hard work. Thanks for the great photos

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Linda, thanks for the compliments. It has been fun watching the garden grow from a barren plot of weeds to what I have now. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  20. foxglove12 11/14/2016

    All so gorgeous! And I'm loving that distressed pot in the first photo. Great job!

    1. user-7007498 11/14/2016

      Thanks Lori. Great pots are great accents and complement the plants.

  21. Chris_N 11/15/2016

    Kevin, it's always a pleasure to see your garden. Your White Tigress is an impressive tree. Your bonus pictures are, well, a real bonus!

    I think all your rain has been dropping in the Midwest. We had hotter and wetter than usual conditions this summer. We had at least twice the usual precipitation in August, September and October. Even with the wet, a lot of plants didn't change color until late. The mildews and fungi were very happy, though.

    1. user-7007498 11/15/2016

      Chris, thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed the photos. White Tigress is truly a 4 season tree. The bark is sooo cool.

      Please send that rain East! It would be OK if it jumps over Ohio (sorry Tim).

  22. greengenes 11/15/2016

    So great to start this week with your gardens Kevin! They are so beautiful and i love all your trees! Your patio is so inviting, a place to relax and enjoy the fall air. I didnt know that calicarpa came in a varigated form! How wonderful is that! Well enjoy this season and i look forward to seeing more! Thanks!

    1. user-7007498 11/15/2016

      Thanks, Jeanne. The patio is great, and I have it enclosed on 3 sides by trees, which turns it into a very private room. The calicarpa is beautiful and catches the eye from a distance.

  23. chelleisdiggin 11/15/2016

    I love the color of the fothergilla gardenii. This blog is introducing me to so many plant possibilities that I never considered. Thanks!

    1. user-7007498 11/15/2016

      Thanks. This is a great blog to see different interesting plants. F. gardenii is the dwarf form that I think colors better in the fall. Plus it is native.

  24. user-4691082 11/15/2016

    I forgot to comment on the photo of the moon! It's amazing...and your containers are such a beautiful addition!

    1. user-7007498 11/15/2016

      The moon was gorgeous. We were cloudless on Sat and Sun, so I got some great pictures. How about you? Did you get great views?

      1. user-4691082 11/15/2016

        Yes, but I was too lazy to get the camera out!

  25. perenniallycrazy 11/16/2016

    I love your photos and I love your garden Kevin! You're so lucky to have a lengthy summer and a late fall season. I struggle to find the beauty of fall especially this very soggy, mushy and dark November. Thanks for brightening my day!

  26. Lynnifer 11/16/2016

    What a beautiful garden sanctuary. I love seeing your autumn colours as we are heading into summer here in New Zealand :-)

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