Good trees for urban gardens: The season of autumn and color

In this difficult year with distancing, washing hands and masks — not to mention Zoom meetings, the election, demonstrations, smoke and wildfires — autumn has arrived.

While all the turmoil has been happening, nature has continued its ways. A rather warm winter with sunshine between the rain showers caused shrubs and trees to explode in growth. My ninebark shrub produced 6-foot stems all over the top in one week, blocking my view of the neighbors’ beautiful Japanese maples. Many trees added growth all over.

People have had time in their gardens. Their yards have never looked better. The arborists are working overtime to help with the control of growth, one bright spot in the economy. And now the fall color has arrived.

While walking, bicycling and hiking we can enjoy all the color in our area. Of course, Japanese maples are at their prime. The downtown Bowhall maples catch our eyes. Tall growing Robinia “Frisia,” with its yellow leaves, makes a bright statement in gardens all over town. The native vine maple also changes color , mostly to yellow. There are several varieties of Smoke Trees (cotinus), which change color throughout the season. Then there is Sourwood, with its bright red leaves and seed capsules contrasting.

If you have a spot for a tree, visit the local nurseries to see them while showing color. It is quite easy to keep your distance and be outside. October is a good time to plant and divide before winter comes.

So enjoy nature at this time of the year

— By Barbara Chase

Barbara Chase is a Master Gardener who serves on the City of Edmonds Citizens Tree Board.


  1. Thank you, Barbara for your dedication to our environment as an educator, a volunteer to our Tree Board and active member of the Edmonds Floretum Garden Club . Wonderful article-once again.

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