Autumn Textures

In Autumn, not only do the colors in the garden seem richer and more mellow, but textures also assume a more dominant role in plantings.

The stem of a Japanese Maple

Photo: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton (Flickr)

Trees, such as Japanese maples, add the darker notes to the symphony of leaf colors.

In Autumn, not only do the colors in the garden seem richer and more mellow, but textures also assume a more dominant role in plantings. The tall sedums become focal points in the perennial beds with their intricate flower heads and fleshy leaves.

The flat shape of the flower heads makes perfect platforms for bees and butterflies. Trees, such as Japanese maples, and shrubs such as Smokebush and Ninebark, add the darker notes to the symphony of leaf colors. Vines, such as Sweet Autumn clematis, contribute the lighter notes of their seed heads.

All types of Salvia flowers, but especially the blue ones, seem to look more vibrant in the fall light. Annuals such as Nicotiana, Cleome, and Gomphrena provide a variety of flower and leaf shapes and textures, and of course there are so many seed heads and berries for the birds to enjoy.

The tall, airy Russian Sage and the perennial Asters and Chrysanthemums carry the bloom across the garden against a tapestry of contrasting foliage and branching patterns provided by the woody plants. The Burning Bushes glow. Even the fuzzy wooly thyme, the gray felted Lambs Ears, and the herbs in the Kitchen Garden are integral parts of Autumn’s textural display.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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