Fall Color Clippings

By Kate Riley October 3, 2010

fall leaves in vase

Happy October friends!  Nature is putting on an incredible show this month, especially around my town.  How about yours? 

Over the weekend, I did a little gardening, plus paid a visit to my local nursery to see what’s available to plant on the porch this autumn season. 

More than ever, I was inspired to bring more new perennials into our garden, even plant a new tree or two.

I just love the autumn colors on display in nature and secretly, I’m wanting some new plants in my yard so that this time of year I can bring more fresh clippings indoors to capture that fresh autumn feel. 


Favorite Plantings That Guarantee Autumn Color 

Japanese Maple.  This slow growing ornamental tree has the most delicate leaves; ours turns a deep red during the autumn months.  It grows well in containers too.  We’ve had one for almost ten years in a large pot where it receives partial sun and partial shade.  I love to scatter its leaves on our Thanksgiving table. 

japanese maple duo


Coleus.  Shades of green, burgundy, and even black in color, this ornamental perennial prefers partial shade and milder climates outdoors, and also makes a great houseplant.

coleus variety


Chrysanthemums.    Decorative as a daisy and cute as a button, these hardy favorites come in all autumn shades.  I’ll be choosing deep burgundy versions this year for my own planters. 

fall mums


Sunflowers.  A bloom that crosses the bridge from summer to fall, these cheerful bright annuals bring the remnants of sunshine indoors, even as an autumn chill draws near. 

sunflowers duo


Ginkgo Biloba.  We’ve all heard of the pharmaceutical uses and the beneficial effects on memory derived from this tree, but how gorgeous are these intense yellow fan shaped leaves in autumn? 

ginko tree duo


Viburnum.  Definitely a favorite of mine, this perennial, which is sometimes called ‘Chinese Snowball’, grows white puffy hydrangea like blooms in spring, and provides gorgeous branches of colorful leaves in fall.  It’s been three weeks and only one change of water, and these stems still look fresh on my mantel. 

viburnum duo


Hydrangea.  Here’s another spring to fall perennial that I adore.  These blooms arrive in pale green with a wisp of pink in spring, then weather to shades of raspberry and sage in autumn.  In years past, I’ve dried their stems, then sprinkled them with metallic spray paint for a gorgeous holiday arrangement. 

hydrangea duo


Grapevines.  Not just for your typical wine country regions, grapevines offer fruit in summer, changing leaves in fall, and branch clippings in winter for forming wreaths. 



Chinese Pistache.   This deciduous and drought tolerant tree is native to China (hence the name) and is often planted along streets in suburban areas for its hardiness and also its fall foliage.   

 chinese pistache tree duo


Oak.   There are several species of this tree, from red to white oak, that put on a glorious show in fall.  Which ones grow best where you are?

autumn oak via mooseyscountrygarden    

The Great Pumpkin.   The quintessential fall themed squash to plant in your garden.  With all the varieties available, if you have the foresight in summer to plant and the patience to let them roam across you yard, you’ll reap the rewards come October. 

pumpkin duo


Your local nursery or garden center will know just what perennials and trees grow well in your hardiness zone.   What’s the one plant or tree in your area or garden that gives you the best fall color? 


Image sources: Better Homes & Gardens; Martha Stewart; Southern Living; Country Living; Alaska In Pictures; Costco; Mooseys Country Gardens;



  1. Great informative post. Thanks so much! I live in Arizona now but I grew up in Indiana and I sure do miss those colors and smells of fall. They just don’t have them here.

  2. another great post! you’ve given me some great ideas for my planters as well! I’ve never heard of the Ginkgo Biloba until now! i agree the leaves are gorgeous!

  3. Beautiful pictures! We are FINALLY experiencing cooler temperatures here in the South. We have had much color change as of yet, but my purple Asters are putting on quite the show all by themselves!

  4. I wish I knew something about gardening…I am so clueless when it comes to planting or taking care of anything…thanks for some great info though!

  5. How pretty!

    I hope you don’t mind. I linked your post to my PORCH AND GARDEN PARTY at firstadream.blogspot.com.

  6. Oh mother nature really does put on a fabulous show! Thank you SO much for sharing these glorious images since here in Phoenix I am still wearing shorts and having fall withdrawl.

    If you have a moment stop by and enter the FAB FRENCH FALL GIVEAWAY.

  7. Oh, my, those trees and plants are gorgeous! We really don’t have anything like them here in the desert of southern Arizona. I just loved seeing them!

  8. As a Canadian, I have to add the plain old Maple Tree. They are so beautiful all year and especially in the fall with their beautiful fall colours. We are lucky to have a couple on our property and several in our neighbourhood.

  9. Beautiful photos, Kate. I spent the weekend starting my Fall gardening. I adore Fall colors! The maple is changing color and I brought in some cuttings from our Hydrangeas. So pretty! I like that Viburnum you have pictured. I need to check into getting one of those. Those are stunning. Always fun to get new ideas!

  10. Ahhh, I love fall! The colors haven’t started changing here yet, and I am growing a little impatient. Great post!

  11. These colors are so beautiful! I must confess, having spent 30 years in Britain, now that I’m in California I like to stay in denial about Fall as long as possible. But the chill in the air this morning has warned me it’s time to get real!

  12. I love the colors at this time of year. We generally use mums on our porch and then plant them in the yard. I love the pic of the coleus…might have to try some of that.

  13. Although we don’t get much fall color here, I know I can visit your blog for that shot of autumn. Thanks for the lovely photos and info. I’m definitely going to see if the Chinese Pistache will do well here.

  14. It’s a great idea to plant now so you can reap later. Your fall mantle is still my favorite of everything I’ve seen- beautiful color but so simple. Amazing how well it’s still doing! . . . Did I miss the stair reveal somehow?? Is it still in progress?

  15. Thanks for the colorful pics. There is nothing like the color of fall. I’ll be using fall branches and leaves as I decorate for my dad’s 80th party this weekend. Can’t wait to make them part of the atmosphere. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Oh I’m so jealous!! I wish the leaves would change here (Texas)! And while I’m admitting my jealousy lol, where do ya’ll shop? They must ship all the good stuff out of my part of Texas to all the goodwill’s and thrift stores elsewhere! My dogs are getting worried,if I don’t find a project to spray paint soon, I may have resort to “Puppy Makeovers”! (that being said, they would all look FABULOUS in heirloom white! LOL) Thanks for all the inspiration, now all I need is a project!

  17. yes i know, the time’s wrong for “falling” in love with this post -pun totally inteded- but i love them all! so vibrant!

    and seriously, i love your blog, u’re a true muse. thank you for all the ideas i picked up browsing your pages :)

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