Almost November garden

We had a day of life-giving rain yesterday. That’s the good news. But days of wind, followed by yesterday’s day of rain brought most of our New England fall colors to an end around us. The mighty oaks are attempting to hang on to their russet colored leaves but the bright yellows and butterscotch leaves of maples have fallen.

However I’ve planned for that. I can still be a leaf peeper in our own backyard with our three enkianthus (Enkianthus campanulatus) shrubs. One is ablaze of crimson shades, one a luminescent amber, and the third is a lovely mix of both shades. What a showstopper they are for us as we gaze from our window.

Enkianthus redvein 2019

Enkianthus redvein 2019

Enkianthus redvein 2019

During the summer, the plants sport blue-green foliage and blend into the landscape, but in the spring we are rewarded with pendants of delicate bell-shaped blooms with red veins as shown in this photo from last spring. If the blooms remind you of andromeda (Pieris), it is in the same family.

Enkianthus campanulatus 2018

These shrubs are young and slow growing. At full growth, they can reach the height of a small understory tree. I have read that they don’t like pruning but I’m hoping to be judicious in training the shrubs as they grow. It’s then they can join our other understory trees, the serviceberry trees (Amelanchier), below, that are giving us lovely orange-red fall color now and offer a profusion of spring blooms, as well.

Serviceberry Tree 2019

Enkianthus

Enkianthus…. I remember thinking it was a funny name for a plant when I was a child and heard my mother talking about the Enkianthus campanulatus in her garden. Now I have two Enkianthus campanulatus in my garden and I still think it’s a funny name…. and it’s fun to say!

It’s a native of the Far East, growing in mountainous areas of Japan and China. The Enkianthus campanulatus or the redvein enkianthus is a desirable woody plant for our zone 5-6 but for some reason it seems to be a rather uncommon choice for gardens around here. In early springtime the plant shines with heavy clusters of small pendulous bell-shaped blooms, white with red veined streaks. Bees of all kinds love them. Butterflies love them.

wikipedia photo, KENPEI's photo, 5 May 2008

 

In the summer, it’s a nice green backdrop for other blooming plants. As glorious as it is in springtime, right now, the end of October, the shrub gives us its best display. Fall hues of coppery red and orange light up the border and bring you to a halt while walking through the yard. The fall foliage for me is more of a showstopper than the blooms of spring, a time when so much else is in color.

Enkianthus 2018

Enkianthus is a slow-growing plant but I hope to be around long enough to train the shrub into a small tree with layered branches to replace the Styrax japonicus, my Japanese snowbell tree that grew in this spot and died suddenly.