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Fall Color for Sunny Spots

Welcome to Old Greenbelt!

Last Sunday I was manning the information booth at Greenbelt’s Farmers Market when a gentleman stopped to ask if anyone knew what colorful plants were growing in the median strip along the main street into town – the spot shown above.  Well yes, I happened to have photographed it and could list the plants he’d been admiring for months:  crape myrtle, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and two annuals:  petunias and New Guinea impatiens.

The color-seeking gardener seemed disappointed by my answer.  He doesn’t want to “fool with annuals.”  So I rattled off names of shrubs and perennials for fall color and promised him a blog post here on the subject, with photos.  So here are some of my favorites, first for sunny spots like the median strip above.

Asters! In purples, pinks and even white. Many of them are native.


Tall Sedums look great well into the fall.


Goldenrods are going strong now, and they’re native.


Japanese maples and mums at Brookside Gardens.

(In the photo above the mums are probably best grown once, as annuals.  But there ARE chrysanthemums that come back reliably every year.)

Drift roses bloom through Thanksgiving.

These days I’m growing Drift roses, like the ones in the breeder’s photo above, but many of the new and super-popular landscape roses bloom until early winter.  We’re still seeing Knockout roses blooming all over town, and Flower Carpet, too.

Amsonia hubrichtii in November at the Scott Arboretum.

And let’s not forget that fall foliage isn’t just in trees.  To my eyes, nothing’s more dazzling than Amsonia’s fall display.

Next up, fall color for shadier spots.

Posted by  Susan Harris.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I am the “gentleman” who chatted you up at the Greenbelt Market on last Sunday. I am the very same gentleman whom you quoted as not wanting to”fool around with annuals”. I appreciated your comments on Sunday. The Master Gardener program is wonderful. How I wish I could get down in the dirt and plant all the annuals I so admire. Sadly crippling arthritis has made that a permanent impossibility. Keep up the good work, and thanks for you blog.

  2. Nice to see you’re a Behnkes blog reader and presumably customer, and I thank you for giving me a blog story idea. I do remember you have some shade, so stay tuned for my shade ideas next. Susan

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