Fall Focal Point

Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the deep blue color of the sky; the smell of burning leaves on a cold afternoon; the slow, soaking rains; and of course the brilliant hues of fall foliage. Right now my garden is at peak color. Everything from trees and shrubs to perennials and annuals is making the transition from summer’s deep greens to fiery reds, oranges and golds.

A principle of design I like to use to create memorable gardens is to establish a focal point within each setting. I find that when I first walk into a garden, I usually look around until I see something that draws my attention. A strong focal point serves as a visual hook, a place to rest the eyes before taking in the surrounding elements.

In fall, the natural choice for a focal point is an especially colorful tree or shrub. This may be a plant that has quietly blended into the background all summer, but as the season changes, it dons a colorful new costume, and is ready to step into the spotlight.

Japanese Maple
Some of my favorite trees and shrubs that make beautiful points of interest in a fall garden are listed below.

  • Sugar Maple
  • Itea
  • Fothergilla monticola
  • Spirea
  • Blueberry
  • Blackgum
  • Ginkgo
  • Dwarf Nandina
  • Euonymus
  • Maple ‘Red Sunset’
  • Japanese Maple

Before the memory of your fall garden fades, consider planting one of these colorful autumn accents either now or in the spring.