Posts Tagged ‘fall foliage’

Blinding autumn color of a Japanese Maple.

I was inspired to stop to take a picture of this amazing display of fall color.  The orange flame pictured above is actually a mature Japanese Maple.  Further down the street were two larger specimens of the same hue that were even more vibrant.  Japanese maples sometimes feel overused in the landscape but when you see this you can’t help but admire them.

The two trees in the foreground are Sugar Maples (Acer saccharum) and they do well in offsetting the bright orange of their Japanese cousin.  I love the way the green needles of the White Pine in the background creates a solid backdrop to really showcase the more vivid fall colors.  It is equally important to create a good backdrop in the landscape so that specimen plants can take center stage.

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Autumn in New York City usually goes by so quickly. We normally get one week of scarves, sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes before the thermometer plummets and winter winds start howling.  This past week, with temperatures in the upper 50’s and 60’s, has been surreal. Cool weather makes the city so much more enjoyable. Working on roof gardens in November in t-shirts is a rarity. Hypoestes and other hardy summer annuals are still hanging on to dear life riding out the warm spell for all it’s worth. While driving out the Long Island Expressway this afternoon, I realized that the fall color seems to be at its peak. Take advantage of the gorgeous weather this weekened and enjoy the last fall foliage of 2011!

Roof Garden on a Sunny November Afternoon

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Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design

Fall Color of the Burning Bush.

Euonymus alatus ‘Compacta’, also known as Burning Bush, creates a show-stopping fall foliage display painted in fire engine red.  It is extremely prevalent in commercial landscapes, but it holds its own in a residential garden when planted in clusters or hedges.

Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design

Burning Bush Hedge.

One of the best uses for Euonymus in a private garden is as a formal hedge.  Burning Bush is a fast grower and is reminiscent in texture to Boxwood but with larger, deciduous leaves.  Euonymus does not have any major ornamental characteristics in spring or summer.  However, fall brings out a fabulous burst of flaming red that is nothing short of magnificent.

Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design

Berries and Bark of the Burning Bush.

Winter interest includes bright red-orange berries and “winged” bark with ridges which makes Euonymus easy to identify.  Newer growth is a lighter green while old wood is brown. Cut branches of the new growth with berries can be used in floral arrangements during the winter.  Flowers are hidden in the spring/early summer and are very small and pale green in color.

They are easy to prune, though if untrimmed, Burning Bush grows to be about 10′ tall  and equally as wide. They are extremely tolerant of soil conditions and prefer full sun, but can handle some shade.  The less sun, the more leggy this shrub will get.  Fall color is also affected by sun exposure and will be more of a pink shade (less sun) rather than vibrant red (more sun). It is hardy to zones 4-8 and can handle urban stress situations.  Several pests and diseases are common so keep an eye out for scale, cankers, and nutritional deficiencies.

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This plaza serves as an entry to the stately 48 story building at 1633 Broadway. Located in the heart of the theater district, Paramount Plaza gets tons of foot traffic which is all the more reason for my disappointment when I saw their fall planting.

Paramount Plaza Looking East Towards Broadway

One large Chrysanthemum was plunked in the middle of each planter. The plantings don’t have any imagination or whimsy and because of the intermixed colors it looks like an afterthought.  There are so many better options for fall annuals and foliage displays that Chrysanthemums are obsolete from a design perspective.

Paramount Plaza Fall Plantings

This planting was a missed opportunity to wow visitors and draw attention to Paramount Plaza’s real estate. The planters are screaming for something with height to match the scale of the surrounding street trees. What if they used Pennisetum rubrum for its tall deep red leaves, or even ‘Purple Majesty’ Ornamental Millet. That would set the stage for a whole new classy feel with lots of contrast in height and color.

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“The charm of natural scenery is an influence of the highest curative value”-Frederick Law Olmstead

My blog today takes a slightly somber turn in light of the tenth anniversary of the horrific events that occurred on September 11, 2001.  As I’m sure most people are aware,a public space is being created at the site of the World Trade Centers to honor those who were lost on that fateful day.

Proposed finished view of the 9/11 Memorial.

The 9/11 memorial park contains water features in the footprints of the buildings surrounded by hundreds of locally grown Swamp Oaks (Quercus palustris). Over 200 of the Oak Trees will  be in place for the dedication service on Sunday and another 200 trees will fill the space when the project is complete.  The overall effect will be a peaceful grove of trees offering a place of quiet to remember loved ones.

400 swamp oaks getting ready for installation.

Swamp oaks were a deliberate choice in for this park.  Climbing up to 75′ in height, they are extremely hardy and can survive for over 3o0 years.  These oaks have a beautiful, rich russet brown fall foliage that will envelope the Memorial in October through the winter.  They are currently being grown and cared for in New Jersey by Bartlett Tree Experts.

The planting of trees as a memorial tribute has grown in popularity because of the lasting dedication a tree provides.  A single tree can serve as remembrance for several generations to come with the proper care.  Humans have an innate tendency to gravitate towards the serenity of nature during difficult times.

Though the dedication service is scheduled for this Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 the memorial will only open for the public on September 12. For more information on the 9/11 Memorial Park, visit their website at www.911memorial.org.

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