Fall in Hampton Roads is one of the most beautiful times of the year offering vibrant colors and rich textures. And, there are plenty of dazzling annuals, perennials, and shrubs that provide colorful blooms that turn an otherwise boring yard into a flourishing fall garden. Here's a few of our top picks for the season to use in the landscape:
Encore Azaleas – if you love the colorful flowers that azaleas offer, then you'll love the Encore varieties. Encores bloom three times per year - summer, spring, and fall, yes, even fall! This repeat bloomer adds vibrant, multi-seasonal color unlike any other azalea and can grow to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide or 5 feet by 5 feet, depending on the variety. Encores offer a wide selection of plant sizes and bloom colors from reds, to whites, to pinks and even corals. Perfect as a base plant, in container gardens, borders, as a foundation planting or in woodland gardens. Prefers well-drained soil and partial sun.
Rudbeckia - more commonly known as black-eyed Susan, this popular perennial is durable and easy to grow - a true sunshine worshiper that forgives neglect. Featuring 2 to 4 inch blooms with golden, yellow rays and a prominent purplish-black center cone, this long-blooming wildflower produces an abundance of blooms non-stop for most of the summer into early autumn. Rudbeckia is often massed together in borders and is also effective at erosion control. Flowers attract butterflies and the seed heads provide winter food for seed-eating songbirds. Thrives in most soils in full sun.
Asters - this perennial flower comes in all shapes and sizes from short and low-mounding to tall and willowy. Blooms appear in late summer into fall with charming, daisy-like flowers in pink, white, or blue and mostly bright orange or yellow centers. With a multitude of purposes, asters are a stunning addition to a wildflower garden, useful in a traditional border, or mingling in a rock garden. Grow in full to part sun in well-draining, moist soil with regular waterings, especially in the summer. Once established, asters are drought tolerant. A great choice for butterfly gardens.
Russian Sage - this tough, clumping perennial flaunts silvery foliage and sprays of small, lavender-blue flowers on up-right stems. Blooms appear continuously from late spring through summer. Its cool-colored flowers and foliage combine well with reds, oranges, and yellows, and its fine-textured foliage partners well with coneflowers, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), iris, asters, and sedums. Taller varieties are great for the back of borders. Both heat and drought resistant, this perennial prefers full sun locations.
Kaleidoscope Abelia - you'll love this evergreen shrub all year, especially during autumn. Features variegated, bright yellow and green foliage and petite, white flowers during the warm season. In winter, foiliage changes to brilliant shades of red and deep orange. This low, compact selection reaches 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall and 3 to 3 1/2 feet wide and works well as a foundation plant, low hedge, mass planting or in patio containers. Abelia prefers partial to full sun.
Camellias - another wonderful shrub for the fall landscape that tops our list every year for fall interest. Fall-blooming camellias bring a splash of color to the autumn landscape when you need it most. These flowering shrubs not only offer beautiful blooms but feature glossy, evergreen leaves that bring a welcome touch of color to your garden. The varying bloom times, color choices and diverse mature size options make these a must-have. Fall-blooming varieties include Hot Flash, Pink-a-Boo, Shishi Gashira, Yuletide and Autumn Rocket, just to name a few. Camellias prefer moist but well-drained acidic soil and light shade in the summer with protection from wind in the winter.