Crowds descend on Grand Haven, Michigan every summer for its wide beach and interesting downtown shops. An extensive boardwalk follows the bends of the Grand River as it hastens to Lake Michigan along the Grand Haven town limits. Along the way, pretty plantings and small shops make the stroll interesting. In September and October, the crowds are gone and the boardwalk is easy to navigate.
I spotted Tiger Eyes® Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typina 'Bailtiger'), shown in the photograph, along the River Walk. Pink stems carry yellow lacey leaves. As the summer heats up, the leaves take on more of a chartreuse green glow. In the fall, reddish pink starts to creep into the leaf color.
Tiger Eyes® does well in sun or a bit of mid-day shade. It needs watering its first year to be established but in my experience, it won’t take shade from other plants in a border and does not thrive in clay soil. Grand Haven’s soil is sandy.
We stayed in a lovely Inn there on the Grand River, near the mouth to Lake Michigan. Across the way, hydrangea blossoms were blazing red. I’m not sure, but I think these are probably Hydrangeamacrophylla ‘Color Fantasy’ from Novalis Plants That Work. I have one and love the heavy green crinkled foliage with red edges. The foliage takes on more of the red tones as the days shorten and cool. The flowers don’t care what the pH in the soil is; they blossom red all the time. Grow as you would any hydrangea macrophylla, in part sun or shade. Color Fantasy is hardy in USDA Zones 5-9.
Ornamental grass comes into its own in the September and October cool days. Their flower heads sway in the gentle breezes, giving motion and substance to the late summer garden. The grass in the photograph was growing near the Color Fantasy hydrangeas. Site grass so that the sun highlights the feathers. Large grass clumps, like this miscanthus, can also hide less than pretty things in the landscape. Look carefully behind the grass and you can just make out a large metal ac unit.
Catmint along the walkway was covered in bees. Novalis has one called ‘Kit Kat’, hardy in zones 3-8, that stays short so that it fits into a sunny landscape without flopping. Its blue flowers cover the plant and are a welcome quiet spot in the fall garden that seems to ripen into reds, yellows, and oranges.
Fall is a good time to take a walk and see what is thriving in your neighborhood. Make notes, take pictures, and plant something new. Gardens can quickly become all about spring. Try growing for Fall. It can be beautiful near the water and in the garden.
By Kate Karam, Monrovia,
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia
It’s not only coastal gardens that have to deal with persistent winds – inland gardens at higher altitudes and those in flat, wind-prone areas get regularly battered, too. Since there’s nothing good about plants stripped of their foliage or rendered dry and desiccated by a gale force tempest, the solution might be as simple as using specimens that are just fine with it. Here are a few we recommend. But first, some advice.
Join fellow garden lovers, history buffs and music enthusiasts to discover the quaint towns and colorful gardens of Holland and Belgium in May of 2018.
This exciting journey will be hosted by nationally known host Eric Johnson, of Public Television's blockbuster show GardenSmart. Your river cruise begins in Amsterdam where you'll see works by Rembrandt and Van Gogh, Anne Frank's House, and see the city's most famous gardens. Then spend a full morning on the grounds of the most beautiful spring garden in the world-Keukenhof! Visit the picturesque Belgian towns of Bruges and Ghent as well as Kinderdijk, with the Netherlands' iconic collection of 19 authentic windmills that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, history buffs will experience a captivating tour of the WWI trenches of Flanders and WWII Arnhem Battlefield of A Bridge Too Far fame. You won't want to miss this extraordinary garden adventure to Holland and Belgium.
Book by November 15, 2017 and save up to $1200 dollars per person!
To register call:
Alki Tours at 800-895-2554
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