Here in southwestern Connecticut, the foliage is finally starting to turn blazing colors of red, yellow and orange. The reds really seem to be coming into their own right now. The display is late this year, most likely due to effects of the summer drought and TI Irene, and overall the colors are a bit more subdued than usual, but it is definitely fall.
Fall makes you realize that color and interest in the garden has to come from much more than a plant’s flowers. One of my favorite plants for months of interest in my garden is oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia).
More Than Just Great Leaves
◊ Oakleaf hydrangea is the quintessential woodland garden plant. With its large, coarse leaves, its ideal for adding texture to almost any shady spot.
◊ The species grows into a large, 8′ x 8′, shrub. If you’d prefer a smaller shrub look for cultivars such as ‘Pee Wee’, ‘Sikes Dwarf’ or ‘Snow Queen’.
◊ Oakleaf hydrangea is hardy in zones 5 – 9, and prefers a site with well-draining soil that is acidic.
◊ Add an occasional shovelful of compost and mulch around the base of this shrub to protect tender roots.
◊ As an added bonus, oakleaf hydrangea sports white flowers in the summer and the bark on older branches of oakleaf hydrangeas exfoliates.
◊ Use oakleaf hydrangea as a specimen plant or, for greater effect, mass them together for a colorful hedge.
◊ Oakleaf hydrangea is not reliably deer-resistant.
Which plants are stars in your fall garden?