By Ruth Gulley
Bringing vibrant colors into the world is undoubtedly a leading motivation for gardeners everywhere. But for those of us who live in regions with long cold seasons, that hard-earned color is often confined to brief springs and summers.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of shrubs and trees that not only thrive in spring and summer but also bring bright tones to your garden or yard well into the fall.
Dogwoods produce white, yellow, or pink flowers in the spring and beautiful green foliage in the summer. Depending on the variety, you’ll get purple, red, or gold leaves in the fall. Find information for how to grow these native trees here.
Its name is derived from the brilliant red leaves that it produces in autumn when planted in full sun. When planted in partial shade, this plant’s foliage will be beautiful muted pink or orange. In the spring its leaves are light brown. The Eastern wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus) variety of the shrub produces maroon flowers in the summer and is not invasive like the more popular Euonymus alatus.
The spring flowers of the fothergilla bush are creamy white and made up of filaments rather than petals. In the summer its leaves are blue-green. But the best thing about this plant is that it produces dazzling yellow and orange leaves late into the fall.
Sargent’s Cherry Tree
A healthy Sargent’s cherry tree will be almost completely covered in vibrant pink flowers in the spring. Its summer leaves will transition from purple or bronze to a deep green. In the fall they change into red, orange, and bronze.
Smoke bush is easily one of the most interesting plants you’ll come across. In the spring its sports clusters of light green flowers. In the summer you’ll get smoke-like wisps of feathery purple or pink blooms, and in the fall its leaves turn deep purple, red, or orange.
Ukigumo (Dwarf Japanese Maple)
The variegated colors of the ukigumo bush make for a truly unique show. In spring its leaves are pale green and white with pink around their edges. In the summer the pink fades away, and in the fall the foliage turns to beautiful yellow-orange.
This bush produces interesting cylindrical clusters of tiny white flowers in the spring and summer. Its oval leaves change from a deep green to red, orange, and gold in the fall. Sometimes the colorful foliage hangs on into early winter.
So if you’re looking to enhance and extend the color spectrum in your garden, give some of these a try. They’re sure to keep your space looking vibrant late into the year.