Garden Photo of the Day

Colorful Fall Shrubs in Oregon

A total yard makeover focuses on woody plants

Today’s GPOD comes from Lin Sime:
"My husband and I live less than 10 minutes from downtown Eugene, OR (we are in Zone 8). We used mulch on top of cardboard to get rid of most of the front lawn and all of the back. Most of what I chose to replace it with are shrubs. I call it “my shrub forest,” both in the front and back. Fall has always been my favorite season, so I chose numerous shrubs for their changing foliage plus some small evergreens. Now that most or all of my shrubs are in the ground, I concentrate on a few annuals and perennials to add, especially in back."

Himalayan huckleberry (Vaccinium glaucoalbum)

Our front yard black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) in the parking strip, thanks to “Friends of Trees Eugene".

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Indian Summer’ is lovely with any fall foliage. This is Fothergilla ‘Mount Airy’.

The view from our patio door shows some small evergreens, red pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) flowers, and a path curving to the right. ‘Black Dragon’ Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon') and a spreading yew are most prominent.

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 11/29/2017

    Lovely colours, Lin. The black tupelo is an absolute knock-out! Great work by the 'Friends of Trees, Eugene'. Cheers from Oz

  2. Maggieat11 11/29/2017

    Looking great, Lin. Would love to see more photos as your gardens develop. Thanks for sharing. The foliage is beautiful!

  3. NCYarden 11/29/2017

    My kind of garden, Lin. Reduced lawn and exciting shrubs - perfect! Fall is my favorite without a doubt as well - the mixed colors are just kaleidoscopic. I particularly like the Fothergilla 'Mt. Airy" of my favorite shrubs in the garden, especially for that fantastic warm Autumn glow. Thanks for sharing.

  4. tennisluv 11/29/2017

    Love your shrub forest. The Black Tupelo is so pretty and will grow to be a beautiful stately. shade tree. The Fothergilla has such pretty fall colors. Has yours bloomed yet? I planted 5 Fotherfilla 'Blue Shadow' in my front yard; supposed to have more of a blue tone to the leaves without losing the pretty fall colors. Too small now to tell what they will do (mail order size). I'm doing the same thing you have done, shrubs and trees first; some perennials but most of those will come later. I always enjoy the pictures you share.

    Happy Birthday, Gertrude Jekyll.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/29/2017

    I am now where I can't get on the ground to weed, etc. I have been thinking it is time to plant lots of shrubs for color & flowers since if any clipping needed to be done I would not have to get down. Everything you have is so pretty & just love the fall colors.

  6. user-7007498 11/29/2017

    Good morning, Lin. Your garden looks lovely in its fall color. The Nyssa is fabulous. I just planted Nyssa ‘Tupelo Towers’ a couple of months ago to replace another tree that died. I can’t wait to see it mature. Don’t you just love fothergilla for 3 season beauty? You will love ‘Black Dragon’ as it matures. I have one that is 15 years old and is about 10 feet tall. Makes a great statement in the garden. Thanks for the photos. Also, great decision to replace the lawn. Well done.

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 11/29/2017

      I have a 'Black Dragon' in a container that has kind of a funky shape (Dr. Seuss would approve of its lack of symmetry). I saw one at Lowe's the other day that was just lovely and I planned on buying it after I did some looking in another department. I had visions of using it in an outdoor decoration vignette. Darned if someone else hadn't appreciated its beauty in the few minutes I had wandered off. When I came back, it was gone. I was bummed!

      1. user-7007498 11/29/2017

        Hi, Michaele. I feel sad for you. I have lost a few great plants through hesitation, myself. I would think Black Dragon would do well in a container. I will have to get a small one next year and create a mixed container. Thanks for the idea.

        Here is a photo of my 10 foot specimen in the landscape.

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 11/29/2017

          Oh, good, you read my mind...I was hoping you would share a picture. Your 'Black Dragon' has a really beautiful shape. Have you ever noticed whether or not it's a big cone producer? When I selected the one I currently have, I think I went for one that had fewer cones because they looked a little odd on the ends of the branches. Maybe I was in a quirky mood...since I normally love interesting cones. Thanks for including the picture.

          1. user-7007498 11/30/2017

            Black Dragon produces many cones, but you could easily miss them. The form at the tips of branches, in clusters, and are much are about the size of a small child’s fingernail.

  7. user-4691082 11/29/2017

    Hi Lin! You have done a bang up job of it all! Do you study and study all of the evergreen choices before you make a decision? Even after I purchase, I always second guess that I could have made a better choice. I have too much property to get rid of the grass. I have to confess that some of the lawn gives my eyes a resting place...I really want a spreading yew, but I don’t know where to put it! I’m sure I’ll find a place. I really enjoyed your post today. Thanks.

  8. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/29/2017

    Yowza on the fall color of your tupelo...its the very definition of breathtaking and traffic stopping. Are there more of them along your block... compliments of Friends of Trees Eugene? The view from your back deck is lovely and your 'Black Dragon' specimen is so symmetrical...quit an elegant beauty. Congrats on creating a very pleasing to the eye shrub forest.

  9. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/29/2017

    You've made some great choices. Everything looks amazing. Of course, the Tupelo is a showstopper. I love the leaves on the blueberry. Not being a designer or landscaper, it's been my thought that a shrub border would be a fantastic option for folks who want a beautiful garden with a bit less maintenance: no dividing, no refreshing tired plants, no cutting back. You'd have multi-season interest; foliage; flowers; fall colors. Am I crazy? I've definitely been adding more shrubs as I age. A little pruning and care with big returns.

  10. sheila_schultz 11/29/2017

    The beauty of a tree and shrub garden is quite evident in the choices you have made for your shrub forest, Lin. The fall colors are stunning! There is no doubt in my mind that if given the choice, my next garden will also be a shrub and tree forest with a few perennials on the side. As you have shown, it's possible to have glorious texture and form without the labor intensive challenge of a traditional 'flower' garden.

  11. cheryl_c 11/29/2017

    Hi, Lin, I join Tim and Sheila in accolades for what you have done and just a deep appreciation for the merits of shrub gardening. You've chosen some of the same plants I love, and your fothergilla and nyssa are beautiful examples of what I hope mine will someday be - I think I'll put this on a laptop and take it outdoors to show them what they need to aspire to!

  12. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 11/29/2017

    Good morning, Lin. I definitely share your love of tree and shrub gardens and your Tupelo tree is one that I may have to look into planting next summer. You’ve made some nice choices and I’m curious whether you’re working from a landscape plan or our method of, “ Ooh, I like that. Where can we plant it?” Please keep sharing as your garden matures.

  13. carolineyoungwilliams 11/29/2017

    Your Fall colors are amazing. I especially love the Red tree. Thanks for sharing.

  14. anabowers 11/29/2017

    Lin, your fall colors are amazing! Such a great combination of shrubs that work together well and add so much beauty! We also did the cardboard/sheet mulching to make beds all over our garden. It's the very best way to have long-lasting, almost weed-free beds! Kudos for your artistic eye and hard work. Thanks for sharing with us.

  15. user-6536305 11/29/2017

    Nice fall color and lawnless garden! Thanks for sharing!

  16. greengenes 11/29/2017

    Such a great mix of plants, Lin. The color is so abundant too! Great idea on getting rid of the lawns! Thanks for showing us!

  17. user-2077552 11/29/2017

    Everything looks so good. Love that black tupelo!

  18. user-7008735 11/29/2017

    Your garden looks beautiful dressed in its glorious autumn colours, Lin! I love those warm colours, too.

  19. Cenepk10 11/30/2017

    Truly Gorgeous

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