Most gardens look great in the spring and summer, but may be less than exciting in autumn and winter. With some good plant choices, you can have a beautiful garden throughout the entire year.
There are many beautiful perennials that bloom in the fall. Consider planting Asters (Aster), Goldenrod (Solidago), Boltonia (Boltonia), and Toad Lily (Tricyrtis). There are also late winter and early spring blooming perennials such as Lenten Roses (Helleborus), and early-blooming bulbs such as Winter Aconites (Eranthis) and Snowdrops (Galanthus).
Other plants have beautiful berries and interesting bark that can carry your garden through the fall and winter. For colorful fruits, try Viburnums (Viburnum), Hawthorns (Craetagus), Crabapples (Malus) and Roses (Rosa). Paperbark Maples (Acer) and Seven-Son Flower (Heptacodium) show off beautiful peeling bark. The twisted trunk of Contorted Filbert (Corylus) is best seen in the winter when its branches are bare. There are several species of Witch Hazel (Hamamelis) that, depending on the species, bloom in fall or late winter.
There are also many unusual conifers that would add interest as well as a focal point to the winter landscape. Consider planting a Weeping Blue Spruce (Picea pungens'Pendula') or Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Pendula'). Our great native Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) is always a beauty in the garden no matter what the season.
Another way to make your garden more interesting is to wait until spring to cut back perennials and ornamental grasses. Although no longer flowering, many perennials like purple coneflower (Echinacea), Black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), Yarrow (Achillea), and Sedum (Sedum) have interesting seed heads that last into winter. And why cut back ornamental grasses in the fall? Ornamental grasses sway in the autumn breeze, add texture and form to the fall and winter landscape, and create wonderful and unusual mounds under a blanket of snow. By putting off some of your fall garden clean up until spring you can enhance your garden in the fall and winter.
Enjoy an autumn or winter walk at Red Butte Garden and see many of these interesting plants for yourself.