October's Glorious Palette

Despite the worries of hurricanes, the weather forecast this week (10.5.16) and the weekend is just about perfect, warm in the sun, cool breeze and still so many plants in bloom in the gardens. And remember, the Arboretum is open from 8 am to dusk daily, so lots of time for a ramble through the gardens or hike in the meadows.

Willowwood Arboretum's new Plant Record Specialist and Plant Curator. Barrett Wilson, has suggestions for the next week or so:

October is a time of rapid change in the landscape, with the summer shades of green giving way to an ever increasing palette of reds, oranges, and yellows. The warm weather and lack of frost have helped the Rosarie and Cottage Garden extend their exceptional variety of color into the fall season, and the meadows are highlighted with late goldenrod (Solidago altissima) and New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). However, visitors are encouraged to keep an eye out for other less common wildflowers, such as the frost aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum) in the meadows and zig-zag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis) which can be found in moist and shady areas.
An important group of plants that begins to shine this time of year are the viburnums. Some good places to see these are in the Orchard and Monarda Meadow. Look for the developing deep maroon leaves of possumhaw (Viburnum nudum). Although the berry-like fruit of viburnums are technically called drupes, they are certainly magnificent by any name. The linden viburnum (Viburnum dilatatum) is adorned with shiny, bright red berries, while the leatherleaf viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum) has berries of two colors visible at this time of year as reds change to blue-black. The rainbow of color doesn’t stop there – yellow European cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus cv. Xanthocarpum) (photo) displays drooping clusters of yellow fruit that are a favorite of birds, especially as colder weather approaches.

Visit and enjoy!

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