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Nature Notes

Written by Tolly Beck
Tolly Beck is the horticulturist at Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Westchester County. She was formerly a horticulture educator for New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland, NY.

Shrubs Display the Beauty of Autumn

Deciduous trees offer a beautiful foliage display each year when their leaves change color in fall. Many shrubs, too, have foliage that turns color in the autumn. The Summer Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) is displaying bright yellow, glossy leaves, while the Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea) is showing leaves of deep red. The Dwarf Green Smokebush (Cotinus coggria) is exhibiting bright red-orange leaves for fall. 

Shrubs don’t just show off their colorful leaves. Many shrubs also produce colorful berries (often prized by the resident birds). The native Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata) has clusters of bright red berries that will persist even after its’ leaves drop . The Cranberry Viburnum (Viburnum opulus) has both red leaves and beautiful clusters of red, cranberry-like fruits. The Firethorn shrub (Pyracantha angustifolia) is showing off clusters of bright orange berries. Not to be outdone, the Japanese Beautyberry (Callicarpa japonica) has brilliant purple berries at the base of all the leaves on long, pendulous branches.
Autumn is a wonderful time to visit Lasdon. Come walk through the Memorial Garden Shrub Border and see the beautiful fall displays of shrubs you may know, and ones you have yet to discover.