It’s the perfect time to arrange your cut greens in window boxes and planters before the soil freezes! Here’s a quick look at how Julia spruced up the window boxes in front of our Winchester store yesterday. Stop in this weekend for fresh cut greens, wreaths, garlands and all of the decorative accessories you’ll need to personalize your display!
Cluster lights are an abundance of densely packed mini LED lights that make a statement. Use indoors or out on trees and shrubs, around windows, or in garlands for incredible brilliance. With a minimum life of 50,000 burning hours and unbreakable bulbs, these efficient lights remain cool to the touch and save on energy costs. Available in 8 different functions for fades, twinkles and flashes.
Make your holiday prep easy! With Thanksgiving only days away, let the Florist at Mahoney’s help you get ready. With beautiful centerpieces, potted gifts and fresh cut-flowers, we have everything you need to deck the halls. Located in our Winchester and Tewksbury stores, we’re ready to take your order! No time to stop by? We’ll deliver.
🎃🍂 It’s pumpkin time! Our stores are packed with an array of festive decor to dress up the house for autumn this weekend. Don’t forget to plant your Spring blooming bulbs like tulips and daffodils too! Ready to decorate indoors? Our greenhouses are stocked with fresh houseplants to clean the air and breathe new life into your interior spaces for the cooler months.
October can be a wonderful time in the garden. While the glories of summer may be behind us, it does not mean the end of color and interest in the garden. There are shrubs and trees that offer fall leaf color ranging from butter yellow, to orange, to glorious red. Many reveal interesting architecture and exfoliating bark when their leaves drop, drawing your attention throughout the winter. Others have berries that add vibrant color to the landscape. Here are some options to explore which will create fall and winter interest in the landscape.
Amelanchier ‘Autumn Brilliance’ (Serviceberry)
This variety of our native Serviceberry lives up to its name. Its young leaves are bronze, mature to green, and turn brilliant orange and red in the autumn, all on multiple upright, highly branched stems, forming a small multi-stemmed tree. ‘Autumn Brilliance’ has spectacular 5-petaled, showy and slightly fragrant white flowers that are larger than those of other Amelanchiers. They appear in early spring in drooping clusters (racemes) before the leaves emerge. The flowers are at first tinged with pink, later fading to white. They give way to small round green berries which turn red and finally mature to a dark purplish black in the early summer. The edible berries are sweet and often used in jams, jellies and pies. The birds will find them as attractive as you do, so you may have to decide whether you will get more pleasure from your homemade jam or having feathered friends drawn to you garden.
Azalea (deciduous): When we think of azaleas, we tend to think of the evergreen azaleas that are staples in front yard plantings. Less well known are the deciduous azaleas. They are more upright in habit and tend to bloom a little later than the evergreen varieties, but are well worth the wait. Whether you choose a pink, yellow or orange flowering variety, they are highly fragrant. As autumn approaches, the leaves turn glorious shades of red, orange and yellow.
Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet): This native shrub is a late summer bloomer, producing fragrant, narrow upright panicle-shaped flowers in white or pink that are a magnet for butterflies and bees. An upright shrub, it performs well in sun or part shade. It grows in regular garden conditions and can also be used in moist spots. Its glossy, dark green leaves turn warm yellow in the autumn. ‘Ruby Spice’ has fragrant, deep pink flowers and grows 4’-6’ high and wide. ‘Hummingbird’ is a more compact growing variety at 3’-4’ and has fragrant, long-lasting white flowers. It is a great option for smaller gardens.
Cornus alba ‘Ivory Halo’ (Red twig Dogwood):
This is one of the most versatile shrubs for the residential landscape. It is happy in conditions ranging from full sun to the shade of a north facing garden. Light green leaves have an ivory margin (hence the variety name), and blow in even the slightest breeze. It complements whatever is planted next to it and will light up a shady garden. When the leaves drop, its many bright red stems stand out against the snow or against the foundation of your house. ‘Ivory Halo’ grows 4’ high and wide.
Cornus sericea ‘Arctic Fire’ (Red osier Dogwood): This is a compact selection which has dark red winter stems. It grows 3’-4’ feet tall and wide.
Enkianthus (Red Vein Enkianthus): This is a lovely shrub that deserves wider use in the residential landscape. It is an upright deciduous shrub that grow 6’-8’ tall and 3’-4’ wide in time. It has tiny, bell- shaped nodding flowers that look like lily-of- the-valley flowers. They are creamy white to pale pink with slim red stripes and edges. The small leaves are bluish-green and are grouped at the branch tips. The overall effect is one of great delicacy. It is hard to imagine that such a delicate looking shrub can become such a riot of color in the fall. Leaves offer red, orange and yellow tones that are absolutely beautiful.
This slow-growing deciduous shrub has fragrant white, bottlebrush-like flowers that appear in early spring. Some people describe the flowers as honey-scented. The unusually shaped leaves are rounded at the base and have slightly pointed edges from the mid-point to the tip. The show really takes off in fall when leaves turn shades of yellow, orange and red. Fothergilla gardenia is referred to as dwarf Fothergilla, growing 2’-3’ tall and wide. ‘Mt Airy’ is a hybrid of two species and grows 3’-5’ tall and wide. ‘Blue Shadow’ is similar to’ Mt. Airy’ but has beautiful powder blue foliage. ‘Blue Mist’ is a more compact variety, growing 2’-3’, with the same intense blue foliage. Fothergilla will grow happily in full sun to moderate shade.
Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea): This multi-stemmed deciduous shrub is unlike the familiar hydrangea. Flowers are upright 12” long pyramidal panicles that open white and age to tones of pink and red. Large leaves resemble oak leaves in shape and turn a beautiful mahogany color in autumn. The cinnamon colored bark exfoliates, creating wonderful winter interest.
Ilex verticillata (Winterberry):
This shrub is native to the eastern United States. It produces bright red berries that persist throughout the winter (hence the common name) and often into early spring. It grows in full sun to part shade. Female forms such as ‘Red Spite’ require a male pollinator such as ‘Jim Dandy’ in order to produce the red berries. There is nothing like these showy berries to add a pop of welcome color in the depths of winter.
This is a lovely deer resistant native shrub that produces loads of long, pendulous white flowers that remain attractive through summer. It is a rounded shrub with gently arching branches. The bright green leaves of summer turn wonderful shades of red and orange in the autumn. ‘Henry’s Garnet’ grows 4’ tall while ‘Little Henry’ grows just 3’ tall.
Viburnum: There are many varieties of Viburnum, all of which offer interesting flowers, berries, leaf texture and beautiful red to mahogany colored foliage in the autumn. ‘Brandywine’ is one example, offering pink and blue berries, followed by glossy dark red to maroon fall foliage.
Deciduous Trees: Deciduous trees drop their leaves in the autumn. While we value their summer leaves and the shade they provide, they are to be valued for other features. Many offer beautiful bark and elegant architecture which enhances the autumn and winter landscape. Here are a few to consider:
Acer griseum (Paperbark Maple): This maple has slender upright branches. Its soft green leaves turn shades of orange and scarlet in fall. It becomes more distinctive and elegant with age, as its papery sheets of bark peel back to reveal cinnamon-brown new bark. This tree makes a lovely specimen in any landscape, including today’s smaller home landscape.
Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple):
Japanese maples are lovely and distinctive small trees for the home landscape. The varieties are almost infinite and all produce wonderful fall color, including shades of yellow, orange, red and bronze. They do best with some shade as full sun conditions can burn leaf edges.
Acer rubrum (Red Maple): Our beloved red maples add a rich dimension to the autumn landscape. Rubrum, meaning red, is in evidence everywhere: red flowers, red fruit, red stems and twigs, red buds and in fall, red and orange toned foliage. ‘October Glory’ is a variety that provides exceptional fall color.
Betula nigra ‘Heritage’ (Heritage River Birch): This fast-growing deciduous tree, often grown in a clump of 3 stems, provides a sense of airiness to the landscape with its tall canopy that moves in the wind. The green leaves of spring and summer turn warm yellow in the fall. It features salmon-cream to brownish bark which exfoliates to reveal a creamy white inner bark, providing wonderful winter interest.
Cercidiphylum japonium (Katsura Tree): This deciduous shade tree has a dense, rounded habit and is grown for its beautiful shape, shaggy bark and attractive heart shaped leaves. The color, too, is exceptional. The leaves emerge reddish purple in spring, mature to medium green with a slight bluish tinge in summer and turn wonderful shades of gold, orange and red in the fall. The fallen autumn leaves have been varyingly described as smelling of cinnamon, burnt sugar or ripe apples. This unusual shade tree truly has multi-season interest.
Cornus florida and Cornus kousa (Dogwood): Dogwoods are small, understory trees that offer multiple seasons of interest. Cornus florida varieties such as ‘Cherokee Chief’, ‘Cherokee Brave’ and ‘Cherokee Princess’ bloom in early spring before the leaves appear. Cornus kousa varieties such as ‘Milky Way’ flower a month later, after their leaves have appeared. No matter your choice, the deep pink, red and purple tones of the autumn foliage add tone and dimension to the landscape.
Gingko biloba ‘Autumn Gold’ (Maindenhair Tree): This lovely tree has unique fan-shaped green foliage that turns brilliant golden yellow in fall. Its symmetrical branching creates an exceptional upright landscape accent, and it becomes a handsome shade tree with age. Interestingly, it is the only surviving member of a group of ancient plants believed to have inhabited the earth up to 150 million years ago.
Nyssa sylvatica ‘Wildfire’ (Tupelo): One of the most beautiful native trees of North America, this variety has excellent pyramidal form that displays brilliant, neon red fall color. It is one of the most stunning autumn foliage choices. The new spring growth is orange-red, changing to glossy green as it matures. Winter interest comes from its strong branching structure and dark bark, creating a stunning silhouette.
Prunus (Flowering Cherry): Whether you choose the spectacular show of double flowered pink blossoms on pendulous branches of the Weeping Higan Cherry, or the pure white cloud of delicate flowers of the Yoshino Cherry, or the large ruffled pink flowers of the Kwanzan Cherry, you will have a beautiful spring show. And it is worth noting that the foliage of Cherry trees turns a warm yellow color in autumn.
Stewartia pseudocamellia: This is a small, slow-growing, pyramidal deciduous tree. It has showy cup- shaped flowers with orange-yellow centers, similar in appearance to camellia flowers. The green foliage turns attractive shades of reddish-orange and burgundy in autumn. The bark of the Stewartia is extraordinary. It exfoliates, showing colors of reddish-brown, grey and orange, providing winter color, texture and interest.
The Value of Evergreens: New England has a rich and beautiful community of conifers and evergreen plants which provide welcome color and structure in the garden in the depths of winter. They offer sculptural and architectural qualities and serve as the backdrop to other plantings. In addition, they offer protection for birds. One of winter’s joys is to watch the activity at a birdfeeder placed near a conifer, as the birds alternately perch on the branches and swing over to the feeder. Bird baths and pieces of sculpture also offer points of interest in the winter landscape.
There are a surprising number of perennials that bloom into the fall season. Here are a few to consider.
Aconitum (Monk’s Hood)
Anemone (Japanese Anemone) ‘Honorine Jobert’, ‘September Charm’
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Plumbago)
Note: Not all perennials have to be cut back in the fall. Think of the plants that have interesting texture or have seeds that can attract birds to your yard, such as Echinacea (coneflowers), Rudbeckia (Black eyed Susan), Sedum, ornamental grasses and sunflowers.
Twenty-five years ago, ornamental grasses were rarely seen in the landscape. As their virtues – low maintenance, drought tolerance, a long season of interest – became more widely known, gardeners began to integrate them into their landscapes. Today they are recognized for bringing qualities of light, line, motion and sound to the garden. They are durable, graceful and versatile. No matter the size or variety, ornamental grass foliage has a unique architectural quality. Strongly linear, yet at the same time pliant and sinuous, grasses add a wonderful sense of motion to the garden. They sway in even the slightest breeze and add a sense of drama in heavy winds. There is a special luminous quality to the foliage and inflorescences (ie. flowers) when the low angle of the autumn and winter sun shines through from behind. Whether you garden in a container, have a small urban lot, a sizeable suburban yard, or a country property, ornamental grasses can help define your space. They can be used as groundcover, as edging along a pathway, as a privacy screen, and as part of mixed perennial and shrub borders. Some are low and clumping, some are arching, and others are more upright. While some bloom in spring, others start blooming in August, and their plumes subtly change color as they age. Grasses can be left in place all winter. Their straw-like colors and interesting textures are attractive to look at and provide food and shelter for birds.
Grasses respond and start to grow based upon temperature. Some grasses will start to grow in early spring when temperatures are still cool and others will wait until the soil is warm and temperatures are more stable. Cool season grass will start to grow early in the spring and may even remain semi- evergreen over the winter. Warm season grasses do not begin to show growth until the weather becomes stable and the soils warm. The previous season’s growth of warm season grasses requires cutting back to 4-6” in the spring. Here are some top performing ornamental grasses in the New England area:
^ Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’ has creamy white and green stripes along the length of its leaves. The foliage grows to 18” but its seed heads reach a majestic 5-6’.
Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Eldorado’ has distinctive golden and green variegated foliage that grows in a neat clump and reaches a height of 3-5’. The stems have an attractive honey-colored hue. Plumes appear in summer and add a vertical element to a height of 6’. Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ was named Perennial Plant of the Year is 2001, the first ornamental grass to be so honored. The green foliage grows in a neat, upright 2’ clump. In early spring, stalks rise to 6’, capped with elongated wheat-colored seed heads. It is undemanding and will tolerate clay and compacted soil conditions. Good looks, long-lasting plumes and undemanding growing requirements – no wonder it is an award winner!
Many varieties of Carex make effective ground covers. They also sparkle in containers and mixed plantings. While most ornamental grasses prefer sunny conditions, Carex thrives in shade. It flowers in late spring.
^ Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ has fine blades with narrow green margins and a broad yellow center.
Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’ grows to a height of 12” in a gently arching form. Its narrow blades are deep- green and have a white striped edge that will brighten a shady area. It spreads slowly via rhizomes.
Carex morrowii ‘Ice Ballet’ is a sport of ‘Ice Dance’ and has wider, creamy-white margins on the blade.
^ Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ has gorgeous blue foliage that grows in a tight clump. It maintains its color throughout winter. It forms spiky mounds that are 10” in height. It thrives in sunny situations and flowers in early summer. It makes a lovely edging along a stone pathway and brings a beautiful blue tone to the garden when planted in groups in the perennial border. Prune any winter damaged foliage, but otherwise do not cut back.
Hakonechloa adds interesting form and texture to the garden with its graceful, arching habit. It tolerates sun but prefers a shady location to keep its tips from scorching. It is semi-evergreen and will only require cutting back any winter damaged or spent blades. With age, it develops an interesting mounding and cascading shape that seems to flow like a waterfall. It is magical when it sways and rustles in the wind. All in all, a beautiful, elegant grass for the garden.
^ Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ has bright golden foliage. It grows 18-24” tall and spreads slowly by rhizomes to form a ground cover.
Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ is a variegated form whose golden leaves have intermittent green lines that are most pronounced in shade.
Hakonechloa macra ‘Beni Kaze’ has thin, rich green blades that start to develop red tips in late summer and gradually become increasingly red. When autumn is in full in swing, this grass is a bright blend of deep red, burnt orange and deep gold.
Helictotrichon sempervirens ‘Sapphire’ has deep blue foliage that grows in a rounded clump to a height of 2’. Its graceful stems emerge in late spring and are topped with tan, oat-like seed heads. It prefers full sun and is a great small grass for containers.
Miscanthus is perhaps the most recognizable group of ornamental grasses. Miscanthus varieties vary in heights, textures and habit but are often recognized by their upright plumes in late summer and autumn. Many varieties can be used to create privacy screens, given their generally tall, dense nature.
^ Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’ is an upright and colorful grass known for horizontal yellow bands on its foliage. In autumn, reddish, fan-shaped seed heads extend above the 7’ tall foliage. It grows in a strongly upright fashion. It makes a beautiful and unique statement in the garden.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’ has fine textured, narrow leaves and grows in a compact, rounded shape. Fan-shaped, rose colored flowers rise above the foliage. The leaves turn a beautiful burgundy hue in autumn. At 4’ in height (reaching 5’ with blooms), it is suitable for small spaces, borders and massed plantings.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ is known for its elegant form and narrow, silver-veined foliage that grows in a pleasing symmetrical vase shape. Long stems produce fan-like, reddish plumes held high above the leaves. Flowers turn silvery-white as they mature and the foliage becomes auburn-gold after the first frost. It keeps its shape well into the winter. It grows to a height of 6’, reaching 7’ with its flowers.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ is one of the most popular in its genus with finely textured, slender foliage that has a well-defined white variegation along the leaf margin. It grows in a neat, upright, arching form to a height of 4’, reaching 6’ when in bloom. It is an interesting option for those looking to create a “white garden”. It looks good in a mass planting or standing alone as a specimen.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variegatus’ is considered a classic among ornamental grasses. It features beautiful wide leaves with cream-colored stripes running the length of the deep green blades. It grows in an arching shape to 5’ in height and has red-tinted blooms.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ is similar to ‘Strictus’ with deep green foliage marked by yellow horizontal bands in random patterns. Some leaves may have more stripes than others. Copper-colored flowers appear at the end of tall stalks. It grows in an arching shape, in contrast to the more erect ‘Strictus’. The foliage of ‘Zebrinus’ will reach a height of 7’ and with its blooms, it will reach 8’.
Muhlenbergia capillaris is a North American native. It can stop traffic when in bloom! It grows in a mound of semi-erect, blue-green foliage to a height of 3’. In fall, billowing pink seed heads form a cotton candy crown. It needs full sun and should be planted at least one month before first frost to allow sufficient time to establish.
Panicum is native to the Prairies of North America. All varieties develop deep, fibrous root systems that help them tolerate poor soil and drought. They have an upright nature that is useful in the garden as a vertical accent to other plantings, or as a screen to enclose an area or hide equipment. Panicum virgatum ‘Dallas Blues’ has wide blue leaves and complementary rose-pink seed heads. It grows to a height of 5’ and adds another foot when in bloom.
^ Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ is appreciated for its metallic-blue foliage, strong upright habit and its pink-tinted, airy midsummer blooms. It can serve as a colorful backdrop, either as a specimen focal point or grouped in a large mass. It grows to a height of 4’, reaching 5’ when in bloom. Panicum virgatum ‘Hot Rod’ emerges blue-green and quickly shifts to deep red. In fall, the foliage becomes deep purple. Topped with red-purple seeds and graced with an upright stature, it is a wonderful and colorful addition to the landscape.
Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ has a dependable upright habit and beautiful blue-green foliage. In early fall, it produces a multitude of cream-colored panicles that reach a height of 5-6’. It makes a stunning vertical accent in the garden. When planted in a group, they add a dynamic structural element. In 2014, ‘Northwind’ became the second ornamental grass to be awarded the Perennial Plant of the Year honor.
Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ is a spectacular red Switchgrass. Its upright foliage becomes red-tinted during the growing season, ending in dazzling red in autumn. It is drought tolerant, easy to maintain, and provides food and shelter for wildlife. Foliage grows to a height of 3’ and the plant reaches 4’ when in bloom.
Pennisetum grow in a flowing, fountain-like shape and are easily recognized by their bottlebrush plumes. We frequently see varieties with red leaves used in decorative containers and annual beds. While they are not hardy in our winters, there are many varieties, mostly with green foliage, that are strong performers in the New England landscape. They are charming when used as specimen plants and look spectacular when used in sweeping masses.
^Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ is a dwarf variety that grows 2’ tall. It has a lovely fountain-like shape and produces pretty bottlebrush blooms. It is a great edging plant and is also at home in the mixed border.
Pennisetum alopecuroides is a graceful 3’ tall grass with pretty blush-colored bottlebrush plumes that appear in midsummer. The flowers add another foot of height and turn a lovely almond color later in the season. They need full sun and once established, need little care. This grass a very useful in the mixed border and is equally attractive when used in a mass planting.
Even shorter is Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Little Bunny’ which forms a 1’ by 1’ clump. When planted in a group, they can serve as a ground cover. As with all Pennisetum, they remain attractive well into winter.
Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’ forms an upright clump of arching green leaves that reach 2’ tall and 3’ wide. It has bottlebrush spikes of dark purple-black flowers that turn silvery as they dry. The leaves turn bright golden-yellow to orange in the fall.
Pennisetum orientale ‘Karley Rose’ has many great qualities: quick to establish; long-lasting pink plumes; upright, deep-green foliage; drought tolerance; and real hardiness. The foliage grows 2.5’ tall with the same lovely fountain-like shape.
Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Red Head’ has 8” long red bottlebrush plumes that emerge in midsummer. The foliage is dark green and forms a rounded, arching habit. It is attractive in mixed borders and creates a dramatic wave of color when planted in large groupings.
Schizachyrium scoparium is a North American native. It produces a kaleidoscope of hues in summer that further change color in autumn. It grows in loose clumps that branch out at the top. Summer’s greens, blues and purples turn tones of red and orange in the autumn. Its flowers produce downy, white seeds. The foliage grows to 2’ in height and when in bloom, the plant reaches 3’. Because it develops deep roots and tolerates environments with poor soil, it is useful in covering slopes and in restoration sites. But don’t overlook its potential in the mixed border or in a meadow-inspired landscape.
^ Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’ has an upright quality that results from its sturdy, thick stems. It also has lovely color – blue with hints of greens, purples and pinks that change to shades of red and orange in the autumn. It reaches 3’ in height and adds another foot when in bloom.