There are many ways to enhance landscapes

  • Follow Gardening

Color is very important in the home landscape. Color always grabs our attention and makes us focus on a single plant or a grouping of plants.

Flowers, berries, fruit and seasonal changes are usually the primary sources of color, but the leaves, stems and trunks of plants can also add color with low maintenance.

Some interesting trunk and bark color can be found in crape myrtles, birch and sycamore. The foliage of plum and Japanese maple adds interest to the landscape with reddish or burgundy color. Use them wisely, though. I have seen them in front of red brick houses and the plant gets lost when looking at the landscape from the street.

There are many colors, shades and tints in shrubs: the dark greens of boxwood, holley, cleyera (slightly reddish), tea olive, pittosporum and camellia. Elaegnus and viburnum provide grayish color as a contrast, and junipers range from dull green to bluish green to gray.

There are a number of variegated foliage plants from which to choose. Plants such as variegated privet, aucuba, euonymus, liriope are useful as accents. Variegated plants should be used with restraint because they are often difficult to harmonize with other foliage. Remember that a little goes a long way.

A tough shrub that is a good source of red color is nandina, especially the dwarf varieties. They turn a nice bronze-reddish color in the fall. Some plants don't turn as much because they don't get enough sunlight.

Winter presents the biggest challenge when we seek color for the landscape. Two good choices are sasanqua camellias and the standard japonica camellias. Sasanquas normally bloom in November and December. Japonica blooms from December through March, depending on the variety. Area garden centers have both plants.

With the expense and time associated with landscape maintenance, it is wise to carefully choose plant material. Try to get some of the needed color from foliage, bark and trunks instead of depending entirely upon maintenance features.

Flowers provide seasonal interest, but good planting design depends upon well-arranged groups of plants with interesting shape, form and texture for year-round attractiveness.

REACH SID MULLIS, THE DIRECTOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA EXTENSION SERVICE OFFICE FOR RICHMOND COUNTY, AT (706) 821-2349 OR SMULLIS@UGA.EDU.

October garden tips
  • Plant shrubs that are rated for our climate zone. Many sick plants are stressed because they are rated for zones outside our area.
  • Check for infestations of scale on evergreen trees and shrubs. If found, spray with dormant oil, acephate, or malathion, or use imidacloprid for control.
  • Check azaleas and pyracantha for late generations of lace bugs. It is important to kill adults before they lay eggs, which overwinter and emerge next spring to attack again. The best insecticides for this problem are acephate and imidacloprid.
  • Turf grass grown on acid soil has been found more susceptible to winter kill, more prone to injury from applications of chemicals and less reliable under adverse climatic conditions. To prevent such problems, have your soil tested every two or three years and apply lime when the needed.

Top headlines

Georgia Regents' hospital plan chosen

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hardfought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health ...
Search Augusta jobs