At this time of year, we cannot help but wonder at the beautiful fall foliage of the trees. Maple, Beech, and countless others put on an incredible show. Less attention is given to the garden, however, as the summer perennials start to get tired looking, and the gardener’s interest wanes.

You can have color high in the trees and on the ground, however, if you include some perennials in your garden’s palette that deliver great foliage at this time of year. There are several that not only look good in the fall, but are great value the rest of the year as well. They will surprise you when the garden gets that nothing-nice-will-ever-happen-again look. What follows are 5 of our favorites. Check them out- it ain’t over yet!

Amsonia. Also known as ‘Blue Star Flower’, Amsonia is covered in clusters of light blue (you guessed it, star-shaped!) flowers in The spring. In the fall, its feathery leaves turn a bright yellow which is stunning when massed.


Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’. This Japanese Forest Grass is a riot of color in the fall, and looks great in the spring and summer as well. Another advantage is that it grows in the shade.


Geranium sanguineum. Covered in pink flowers in the summer, this front-of-the-border plant’s leaves turn scarlet in the fall.


Vaccinium angustifolium, the lowbush blueberry. A low, woody shrub rather than a perennial, it still works in a perennial garden and is another plant with gorgeous red autumn foliage. Better yet,  it rewards us with blueberries in the summer! What’s not to like?

Sun-loving grasses. Fall is when so many grasses come into their own. Many have leaves that turn all shades of red, yellow, and green, and others have feathery plumes that rise above the foliage and create winter interest. There are so many it’s hard to pick just a few, but look into the Panicum, Miscanthus, and Pennisetum and you will have a wonderful afternoon dreaming up combinations.


There are still a couple of weeks left to plant, for many of us. If not, then a long winter is a great opportunity to sit back with a bunch of gardening books and plan for next fall!

“Autumn carries more gold in its pockets than all the other seasons.” -Jim Bishop

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