Fall Memorial Garden
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The Fall Memorial Garden
Dedicated to the memory of the victims, their families, and the rescue workers of the
September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.,
and special thanks to the Canadian families who housed those who couldn't land in the USA.

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Decorate for Fall

Fall Color for a Memorial Garden

us_ribbon_flag_md_clr.gif (50x70 -- 8882 bytes)Our Garden Gang gardeners know the vigilance required for weeding, and how weeds can destroy a garden if they take over. Vigilance is important in our personal lives as well as in the running of a country.  

Remembering loved ones and events through our gardens is also something gardeners know, and a colorful fall memorial garden has healing qualities.  It doesn't just mean flowers.  Bright colored foliage, fruits and seed heads can also be part of the remembrance composition.  

Early fall is a superb time to plant, especially if you're tackling major projects like putting in a new flower bed or border. Transplanted now, plants ease into the garden naturally. 

The soil is still warm enough for their roots to burrow in and take hold, yet the air is beginning to cool, which means you don't have to be out in the garden every day watering. 

Soon fall rains will kick in.  So while you do your annual late summer "plant scavenging" in the garden centers for sale-priced spring and summer bloomers, keep an eye out for some of these fall beauties.

In this article, we'll cover fall-blooming flowers, colorful seeds and berries, and colorful foliage plants.  See the Winter Garden article for ideas to increase winter interest in your garden, too.

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Fall-blooming Flowers

Salvia Evolution

Garden chrysanthemums come in such bold colors that most gardeners only use them for impact. But mums come in a rainbow of sophisticated shades that blend beautifully with other flowers. Many mum's yellow centers match the lemony blossoms and golden fall foliage of a Hyperion daylily. For a softer combination, try a pink mum with blue Salvia (sage) and hardy Artemisia.

The last blooms on foxglove and hollyhock (if you've faithfully deadheaded the spent blossoms all summer) remain.  Radiance continues in the spikes of color with physostegia (false dragonhead). Its white, orchid-pink, or rose-tinted flowers open from July to September on 2 to 3 foot tall plants that come back in even the coldest climates. This can become invasive in the established garden, so site it with care.

Carpet an area with colchicum (autumn crocus). Vase-shaped flowers emerge from bulbs in the fall, with the ungainly leaves not popping up until the following spring. Blooms come in rose to white to lavender. Place colchicum along a shrub row or around a tree, use as a border, or plant in clumps to fill in any areas that need fall color.

Helichrysum (strawflower) says sunny and bright till frost. This sun-loving annual opens in a riot of colors - gold, maroon, pink, and white. The papery flowers dry easily for long-lasting color.

Annual sunflowers with blossoms ranging from saucer to dinner plate size are still glorious. Beyond traditional sunny-yellow blooms, you can choose double petaled, silver leafed, or bicolor flowers on stems from 2 to 10 feet. Sunflowers also come in swirls of burnished gold, wine, or mahogany.

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Asters provide a sure bloom in any garden. Simply give them a sunny spot and plenty of water, and get set for a banquet of bloom in lavender, white, pastel pink, bold purple, or fuchsia. You can find asters that open as early as July and those that don't finish until November.  Asters provide a lovely foil for many season-long, colorful annuals, such as coleus, dianthus, geranium, gomphrena (globe amaranth), and snapdragon.

Create a pastel fall masterpiece with  with pink spikes of Firetail polygonum (pink variety of Silverlace vine), White Swan echinacea (coneflower), brown astilbe plumes, and punctuate the bed with spots of white, such as veronica or Greek anemone.

And don't forget annual alyssum.  This trouper, if sheared back occasionally over the summer, keeps on until hard frost.  The white variety is also fragrant.  Try the pink and lavender shades with other pastels.  See the Fall Flowers article for more late bloomers.

Colorful Berries and Seedheads

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Cranberry Bush

On Viburnum Opulus Compactum (European Cranberry Bush), gleaming red fruits dangle among leaves that shift to brilliant red as fall arrives. The berries hang on in winter.  White blooms blanket the branches in late spring. Big on color, this shrub is small in stature, reaching only 5 feet at maturity.  Underplant this with the warm yellows or cooling whites and pinks of the flowers listed above.

The blue-black berries of pagoda dogwood, Cornus alternifolia is a 20-foot tree that is a favorite among birds, which will also add color to your yard's fall display. The leaves of pagoda dogwood turn a with fiery red. Plant Cornus alba Sibirica for similar fall foliage on a 10-foot shrub with blue and white berry-bedecked branches.  Underplant these with the warm toned or purple toned flowers listed above.

The Purple-fruited Beautyberry is festive, easy to grow and survives cold blasts to 20F below zero. Pink flowers in late summer give way to purple or white berries tucked among yellow fall foliage. The fruits spread good cheer all winter in the garden or in a vase in the house. For best fruiting, plant several bushes together.  Underplant this with purple and yellow toned flowers.

The fuzzy seedheads of clematis and kolkwitzia (beautybush) linger into winter.  The bright red or orange rose hips on rugosa (shrub roses) are cheerful too, and co-exist with the last blooms of the season.

Colorful Foliage

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Fountain Grass

Bright colored foliage usually steals the show in the late autumn garden, when frosts have nipped all the blossoms. For color that lingers, count on the almond cascades of pennisetum (fountain grass). The dark green, leathery leaves of pink-flowered bergenia will also recall scenes of the summer garden border until snow hides them from view. For red bergenia foliage, plant the variety Perfect.

Blueberry bushes turn a vibrant crimson. Pair blueberries with white aster-like boltonia for a peppermint-stick planting. For best yields, blueberries need acidic soil. Add composted oak leaves or peat moss to increase soil acidity. For a scarlet fall shrub that thrives in any soil, choose Brilliant chokeberry (aronia).

Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a lovely, deciduous tree which covers its bare branches with pink or white flowers in early spring. But the yellow or red foliage, continues, and the variety "Forest Pansy" has purplish foliage.  Underplant these with warm or pastel toned flowers.

Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) blooms in summer. The bark is good-looking, shiny, and peeling; fall color is yellow to red. Performs best in hot summer areas. Ask for varieties resistant to powdery mildew.  Underplant with warm-toned flowers.

Flowering crab (Malus) apples are colorful, deciduous trees that bloom in spring. Flowers are followed by colorful, edible fruit. Ask for disease-resistant varieties.  Underplant these with bright red, white and blue toned flowers.

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Autumn Crocus

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Hyperion Daylily

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Redbud in Fall

Crape myrtle

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