Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 13: Fall Color Favorites

November 30, 2017

We’re on location at The Gardens at Elm Bank in New England to see which plants look their best at the end of the season 

One of the most spectacular places on the East Coast to visit in fall is The Gardens at Elm Bank, home to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley. We dropped by a couple weeks ago to see what plants were looking their best as the temperatures dipped into the 20s. As we walked around the amazing gardens designed by Adrian Bloom, we discovered a few well-known favorites and a couple of surprising options for autumn that may inspire you to plant something different as the gardening season ends.

Expert: David Fiske, gardens curator for The Gardens at Elm Bank, Wellesley, MA. 

The Bressingham Garden at Elm Bank (designed by renowned plantsman, Adrian Bloom) truly shines in autumn when several plants including ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum (Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Zones 3-10) and Quick Fire® panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Bulk'), save their best for last. 

There’s a reason that Steve can’t stop talking about Arkansas blue star (Amsonia hubrichtii, Zones 5- 8). It looks great in spring, summer, and fall when it morphs into an electric yellow mass. Also, check out the white flower in the background: Proof that Steve has planted, and likes, mums.

Although Danielle had a hard time remembering the cultivar name, the appearance of Purple Pearls® beautyberry (Callicarpa x 'NCCX1', Zones 5-8) is hard to forget. The purple foliage is unique and gives this shrub an interesting twist during the times when it’s not in berry.

It’s hard to ask a native New Englander what their favorite fall plant is because there are so many to choose from. But horticulturist David Fiske of The Gardens at Elm Bank says when Eastern native red maple (Acer rubrum, Zones 3-9) puts on its autumnal show, nothing compares.

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