Beyond Fall Foliage

Want to add autumn interest to your garden? Frost has arrived and flowers are finishing their season, but we don’t have to settle for a boring landscape. Even in Colorado, it’s possible to create a garden that is beautiful all year.

Colorful foliage is everywhere this time of year, but there’s more to fall than just leaves, no matter how spectacular they might be. Look for bright berries, persistent seedheads, and even colorful or thorny bark and branches.

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Winter Color

Do weeks of staring at snowy white landscapes have your eyes screaming for color? Winter gardens don’t have to be drab, lifeless affairs. Flowers may not be in bloom, but many plants have leaves, stems, or berries in shades of bright red, golden orange, or silver-blue and plum. Put them together and your winter garden springs to life.

Mahonia repens (also known as Oregon Grape Holly)  is an attractive groundcover year-round, but it really shines in winter. While other plants shed their leaves, Mahonia’s foliage turns a stunning bright red.

Yellow flowers in spring and showy blue berries in early fall add to this native’s year-round interest. Mahonia repens is drought tolerant, and handles full sun to part shade.

Juniper horizontalis ‘Blue Chip’ is another groundcover that remains attractive all year. While many junipers grow much too large for our small yards, Blue Chip stays under a foot high. Its feathery foliage is a beautiful steel-blue all year, with the addition of silver-plum tips in winter. Plant it in full sun, where it will quickly spread up to ten feet in diameter. Junipers are very xeric once established.

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