Take 3: Fab Fall Color

Take 3 Fab Fall

It's as easy as 1, 2, 3...

Fall Magic
Here's a garden design that will offer dependable color and texture from mid- to late-summer through autumn... with only three perennial groupings. Even though the color palette turned to shades of brown in winter, the garden still looked neat and textural... along with treats for the birds and shelter for rabbits.

Restricting your plant palette to just three plant varieties makes designing and planting much easier. You can plant a big or small area by simply adjusting the number of perennials in each grouping. Here's a plan that really works!


Light: Lots of sun... Garden faces west with morning sun and afternoon sun. 



Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' or other perennial varieties): Golden yellow daisy-like petals and black or brown ‘eyes’ will light up mid-summer gardens. Some varieties start blooming in mid-summer and some bloom a bit later, but all keep flowering until temps go down below freezing. Deer resistant.

Size: 2-3 ft. tall
Light: Full sun or part sun
Tips: Easy to grow. Great for mass plantings. Dark cones of the Black-eyed Susans bring texture to winter gardens. Perennial Rudbeckia works best.

Aster 'Purple Dome' (Aster novae-angliae): Violet, daisy-shaped blooms with complementary yellow centers. Easy to grow and compact, this native plant starts blooming in late summer, providing nectar for pollinators at just the right time. Blooms into fall.

Size: 16-18” tall 
Light: Full sun, part sun
Tips: Beautiful swath of purple blue in late summer through fall. Pollinators need these flowers at this time of year.


'Karl Foerster' Feather Reed grass (Calamogrostis acutiflora): A dramatic and tidy, clump-forming grass with vertical interest. It grows quickly in spring and offers early feathery and light-tan blooms. This variety does not reseed and is also deer resistant. 


Size: 36-60" tall, 24-36" wide (in full sun)
Light: Likes lots of sunlight.
Tips: A very tidy grass with nice texture. Looks best in groupings. Looks good in all seasons and stands up throughout winter, too.


Even after the winter months, this garden still looks rather neat in late March. The grasses are ready to be cut down to 6 inches at end of March.
1. Black-eyed Susan grouping
2. 'Karl Foerster' Feather Reed grass grouping
3. Asters (purple when in bloom but not sure of variety) grouping