This garden has been designed to express the abundance of color and movement in plants with fall interest. Ornamental grasses with waving stems, prairies natives with colorful blooms and deciduous shrubs showcasing brilliant foliage, together create a dynamic autumnal landscape. The border incorporates plants with fall interest such as native bittersweet, goldenrod, fall-blooming crocus or burning bush. Ornamental grasses are especially prominent, used as a backbone of the border; they add vibrancy to the garden throughout the year as they take on a different character with each season. But the very best trait of grasses in the garden is their ability to capture the wind and express it in their movement. Shenandoah Switchgrass Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah,' one of my personal favorite grasses, is displayed in the border and considered to exhibit some of the best fall color among the many cultivars of native switchgrass. By July, dark red tones appear on the leaves, then the whole plant turns a powerful burgundy in late fall. In late summer it has airy plumes with a rose tint. It works well as a superior single specimen or mass for a drift of color. With a very upright habit and fast growth, it reaches 4’ in bloom, and 2-3’ wide.
At the southeast corner of the greenhouses, bright orange sprays of fruit from the native Bittersweet can be found rambling over the fence and lamppost. The vining Bittersweet Celastrus scandens (photo right)is valued for glossy green summer foliage, yellow to yellow green fall color and the showy autumn display of brilliant orange and red berries. This vine will climb up to 20’ on a structure, while ours effectively covers a large section of the fence and screens the parking lot. Shrubs in the garden include Rudy Haag Burning Bush, Dwarf Gray Dogwood and several existing fragrant viburnum that terminate each end of the border. Through the length of the border, butterfly bush will anchor the border and animate the space with the constant activity of visiting butterflies. Along the walk, large drifts of ornamental grasses will be intermixed with goldenrods, Joe Pye Weed, Arkansas Blue Star aster and mums. Green View Nursery generously donated the Fall Border.