Fall Color Surprises

Fresh ideas for pots: vibrant greens with burnished hues

Fall color

Thomas J. Story

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Take fall's favorite hues ― plum, burgundy, red, orange ― and add a splash of lime. What do you have? A combo that's as fresh as a spring breeze yet mellow as a vineyard at this time of year. It's an especially effective pairing in pots: The greens temper the heat of plum and red.

This month at nurseries, you can choose from hundreds of shrubs, grasses, and perennials with leaves in burnished colors, and plants whose foliage comes in luscious shades of apple green, lime green, or yellow green. Many can fit into containers; they serve as the basis for the eye-catching groupings shown here

For a modern look, plant your arrangements in glazed pots of deep burgundy, forest green, or pebble gray. You'll create a fresh autumnal mood without having to rake a single leaf.

Lime green is a cool counterpoint to fall's smoldering shades (above, left).

Coprosma 'Evening Glow' contributes a rusty orange color that will deepen with cold. Its companions are grassy Acorus gramineus 'Ogon' and lime Scotch moss. (Left)

Bronze New Zealand flax adds high drama; it is joined by 'Gulf Stream' heavenly bamboo, pheasant's-tail grass (Stipa arundinacea), and 'Purple Petticoat' heuchera. (Center)

Cordyline is underplanted with Acorus and Scotch moss. Similar planter boxes available from Pottery Planet (or 831/462-9949). (Right)

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