I had some rare time in between landscape design projects and clients last week and as I’ve been meaning to take my new camera lens out for a spin, I stopped by Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown to search out some of the details of the season. The focus of this public park is plants…not necessarily design although it has its designer-y moments. I go here when I need a plant fix. I send my landscape design students here to photograph and learn about plants just as I did years ago when I was learning.
Grasses, asters, Japanese anemones and Monkshood were at their peak and the large swaths of hardwood foliage astound, but there are many other details that can make a landscape’s planting design special in the waning warmth and long low light of autumn. Sometimes they are stalwart summer hanger’s on and sometimes they are plants whose season is now.
The almost spent bloom structure of a Heptacodium miconoidies (Seven Sun Flower) has beautiful open structure and pale pink color.
I’m a sucker for contorted branches of a Japanese maple silhouetted against some foliage ‘stained glass’…
The gold and russet fronds of Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern) in a woodland setting adds some unexpected living color to the ground plane. Mostly the oranges of fall are fallen from above.
The late blooming native Nicotiana sylvestris (Woodland tobacco) is a giant in most gardens but so worth it in terms of drama. One of my personal favorites, and easily raised from seed, it takes forever for this plant to appear, and does smell a bit like an ashtray…remember those?
Pinus bungeana‘s (Lacebark Pine) exfoliating camo bark. Who wouldn’t want this in their garden? I don’t see this tree in commonly in the trade or used enough in gardens. In fact, I’ve only ever seen one once in a residential garden where I kept it from being cut down!
Lastly, as I said in the beginning the Aconitum and Anemones were at their peak. So pretty reaching for the light.