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Garden Design

Fall in New England

Maria von Brincken

Maria von Brincken

October 20, 2012

Songwriter Cheryl Wheeler sings “when fall comes to New England, the sun slants in so fine”.  Indeed, and misty mornings greet the superb range of coloring in this part- shade garden.  Rusts, yellows, greens, and blues all add to the texture of the different plant forms and masses. I always find it amazing that dying fern fronds become lovely features in this garden at this time of year.

The foliage tapestry is composed of  PJM rhododendron, lace-leaf Japanese maple, blue spruce,oak leaves, blue and yellow hostas, Siberian iris, Daphne, and ferns. Look for the splashes of vivid blue created by the late flowering species aconitum. It’s lovely and poisonous so I wouldn’t recommend it around toddlers who might want to eat it. I’ve positioned mine way behind other plants that bloom earlier throughout our growing season so its tall stalks view easily now, but difficult to reach. By the way, what you see behind the aconitum is the wetland and forest of changing autumn leaves of the lovely “borrowed”  view I covet.

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11 years ago

Hello Maria
This autumn palette is absolutely charming. I want to know about your conditions, for example what type of soil do you have? Is there rock in your soil for improved drainage and so on. I have a Daphne in a pot [odora variegata] that I want to plant out but have lost quite a few in the past. If I could get the soil/aspect right, it may have a chance.
Autumn to me is the best time of the year, and your garden just shows so clearly why it is such a restful period in the gardening calendar. I would love to see more of these beautiful scenes of your truly superb garden.

Maria von Brincken, APLD
Reply to  Alison

Thanks so much for your comments , Alison. I do appreciate that you love the mix of texture and foliage color in the waning fall garden.

As to the daphne…here in New England, I’ve removed the top 12″ of the glacial mix of clay and rock that I found here and replaced with a composted loam mix that the local wholesale nursery creates. I also “compost” occasionally in the late fall with composted cow manure (not the dry dehydrated stuff). The daphne has morning sun from early dawn thru noon and then an open shade that has lots of reflected light in it! Hope this helps.