Archive for tea viburnum

A Few Fall Favorites for Foliage and Fruit

Posted in evergreen, Fall, Fall Color, landscape design, Shade Gardening with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Italian arum, Arum italicum, goes dormant during the summer and comes up again in September so it is pristine in the fall and through the winter.  All photos were taken at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens this week.

“A Few Fall Favorites for Foliage and Fruit” was inspired by an article in a gardening magazine talking about dressing up your fall garden with mums because everything else is finished and the garden is looking tired.  Reading this sent me rushing for my camera and out the door to prove them wrong (I have a similar response to shade gardening articles that start: “Now you can’t have color in the shade, but….”).  In fact, my indignation has inspired a three-part post, the other two will cover flowers and hostas that look good in fall.  And none of the plants I am highlighting are relying on fall leaf color yet.  So here is some of what is fresh and beautiful in my shady gardens right now:

‘Brigadoon’ St. John’s Wort, Hypericum calycinum ‘Brigadoon’, has gorgeous gold foliage all season.  With the onset of cold weather, it will take on peachy hues.

‘Caramel’ coral bells, Heuchera villosa ‘Caramel’, displays its lovely colors 365 days a year.  The native Heuchera villosa cultivars, including ‘Caramel’, ‘Citronelle’, ‘Bronze Wave’, and ‘Frosted Violet’, are the best coral bells for our area and remain colorful through winter.

‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass, Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, really comes into its own in the fall when its cascading yellow-variegated foliage shines in full shade.

The foliage palette for shade has been enlarged by the recent introduction of foamy bells, x Heucherella, which is a cross between native foamflower, Tiarella, and native coral bells, Heuchera.  This is ‘Solar Power’.

One of the many things I like about hybrid hellebores, Helleborus x hybridus, is that their evergreen leaves stay pristine through whatever summer throws at them.

The evergreen leaves of Christmas rose hellebore, Helleborus niger, are also lovely in the fall.

The leaves of ‘Black Scallop’ ajuga, A. reptans ‘Black Scallop, become darker and darker as fall progresses, ending up a deep mahogany.

‘Diana Clare’ lungwort, Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’, is another plant that can take whatever nature dishes out—it shines in full shade.

Unlike deciduous ferns that hit the decks in September, evergreen ferns are just getting going, here tassel fern, Polystichum polyblepharum.  To read my article on evergreen ferns for shade, click here.

The foliage of ‘Wolf Eyes’ kousa dogwood, Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’, is beautiful all season, but I especially appreciate it in the fall when other leaves are tattered.

‘Red Sprite’ winterberry holly, Ilex verticillata ‘Red Sprite’, is my favorite of all the native winterberry cultivars because it has a compact habit and produces copious amounts of very large berries.  For more information on this great shrub, click here.

Our native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, is in full fruit right now.

The striking bright purple berries of ‘Early Amethyst’ beautyberry, Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’, march evenly down the stems of its beautifully cascading branches.  For more information and a close up photo, click here.

I grow my tea viburnums, Viburnum setigerum, in the shade of massive 150-year-old London plane trees, but it doesn’t stop them from producing their spectacular bunches of shiny red fruit.

The foliage and berries highlighted above, along with many I did not include, make my fall gardens a showplace for my customers and a relaxing retreat for me.  They do not require any dressing up for fall because they are already fully clothed.


Stay tuned for Part 2, A Few Fall Favorites for Flowers, and Part 3, Hostas for Fall.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings: Orders for woody shade plants will be accepted until  midnight on Wednesday, October 5.  Click here for the catalogue.  Our final fall open house sale will be on Saturday, October 8, from 10 am to 2 pm, and Sunday, October 9, from 1 to 3 pm.  Remember you can make an appointment to shop 24/7 by sending me an email at  The nursery closes for the year on October 16.

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