Fall color

For many of us, our minds associate Fall with hayrides, pumpkin patches, cooler weather, and glorious fall color. But as we know here in Southern California, many of those associations are in our minds! Most of the more dramatic changes that occur along with Autumn will happen on the East Coast and in the North. Meanwhile, we have to get a bit more creative in our area to get fall color in a mild climate.

First, consider whether you have included any deciduous plants or trees in your landscape. Those that are native to locations with milder winters are ideal for our local climate because they will change colors even with a slight variation to cooler weather. Examples include:

● Oakleaf hydrangea
● Japanese maple
● Sweetgum tree
● Dogwood
● Gingkos
● Chinese pistache
● Crepe myrtle
● Japanese persimmon (as a bonus, you can also enjoy the fruit)
● Grape Vines

Of course, as emblematic of Fall as they are, there is no need to rely solely upon leaves. Consider, also, shrubs that produce bright red berries in the cool season. Pyracanthus shrubs flower beautifully in the spring, but also provide a display of fall and winter berries. The bushes are quite drought-tolerant, too, so they won’t require much water throughout the summer.

Finally, there is always the obvious choice of flowers. Chrysanthemums are a clear option as are other annuals and perennials in shades of yellow, red, orange and dusky purple. Intersperse these with some ornamental grasses in brilliant shades of gold, and you can achieve a colorful fall garden in time for Halloween.