Gardening through the seasons: Enjoy fall color as summer slips away

Here’s the latest quarterly column, “Gardening through the Seasons,” by Edmonds Master Gardener Barbara Chase.

Our cold winter and slow start of summer has made gardeners appreciate the plants that still produce colorful flowers as we head to fall. Plants such as dahlias, fuchsias, native goldenrod (solidago) , amaryllis (“Naked Lady”), even some hydrangeas continue to produce color. Smoke tree and sumac have already made their appearance.
Shrubs and trees such as Japanese maples, robinia “Frisia,” oxydendrum, “Sourwood,” our native vine maple and many deciduous viburnum will continue to  add color interest as autumn progresses. Service berry and  Ginkgo also add welcome color.
There are questions about pruning. It is always a good time to remove dead, diseased and injured wood. Spring blooming plants such as rhodys: Wait until right after the plant has bloomed to prune. It is good to wait until late winter or early spring to prune summer blooming shrubs. Roses are one good example.
Fall is a wonderful time to add trees and shrubs to the garden. The cooler, wetter weather is great for new plants. They will have winter to put down their roots. In spring they will be more ready for our dry summer. Gardeners need to remember to put down 3-4 inches of mulch. Wood chips and bark dust are excellent mulch. Planting in fall helps to see the color, which can differ even in the same species.
Taking walks and hikes is a joy in the autumn. Adding fall color to your garden will bring you many years of enjoyment
— By Barbara Chase





  1. The colorful sumac tree picture was taken in front of the local Cascadia Art Museum. The plantings in front of the museum are good examples of desirable plants to grow in local gardens. Visiting the museum and taking in their beautiful plantings is a worthwhile visit.

  2. Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ adds beautiful yellow color, but it can be toxic to pets. So be aware of direct contact of animal and young children. with the tree. Eating parts of the tree such as leaves and bark can be toxic to adults.
    Be aware of the toxicity of the tree and be careful where you plant it.

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