Want a great autumn garden in WNY? Get inspiration here

center garden in autumn in Pendleton NY
The center garden in the Hommes’ front yard looks great in every season. The green leaves of summer on the ‘Kwanzan’ cherry tree, left, and the dogwood tree, right, are taking on autumn hues. The round boxwoods add interest with their shapes, plus they stay green all winter. (The tree with the red leaves in the center of the photo is a Japanese maple situated in another garden bed.) Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
red Japanes maple and yellow lilac in autumn in Pendleton NY
The red leaves of the Japanese maple and the yellow leaves of the lilac ‘Miss Kim’ add color to a garden bed near the driveway in the Hommes’ landscape in Pendleton. At left are the green leaves of a hyrandgea and the evergreen is a Hicks yew. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

You can have a lovely garden in all seasons of the year. To find out how it’s done, I visited Tom and Darcie Homme in Pendleton.

I showed you their gardens in winter, in spring, in summer and now in autumn.

Of course, what you see in these articles are just moments in the life of the gardens. The plants change continuously throughout the seasons.

That seemed especially true in this season. In September I posted an article saying that trees were starting to change color in the Chautauqua-Allegheny region. All through October, I kept checking in with Tom Homme to see when his Niagara County landscape would be ready for photographs.

We chose a day in the first week of November that looked promising. We’d had a frost, but when I got to their house, the yard still looked more like September than November.

“This should all be done by now,” Homme said, looking at green leaves firmly attached to trees and shrubs.

I went back the next week when it wasn’t raining or snowing and was able to catch the leaves as they were beginning to turn color.

“It changes day by day, even hours!” Homme said.

If I had waited one more day, I would have captured the garden at its peak, he said, but a day later, the leaves were falling fast. Now many of the leaves are gone.

“Every year is different,” he said. “You never know.”

If you want a great garden in autumn, what should you plant?

Mainly trees and shrubs with colorful leaves, Homme said. Evergreens of different sizes and shapes also add interest.

See this same landscape in winter, in spring and in summer.

shrubs in autumn in Niagara County NY
Shrubs can add so much to your landscape. From left are arborvitae ‘Emerald Green’, smokebush, a short juniper ‘Old Gold’, two ‘Mountbatten’ junipers with a viburum between them, a hydrangea ‘Lime Light’, another ‘Mountbatten’, another ‘Emerald Green’ and a ninebark ‘Amber Jubilee’. These shrubs block the Hommes’ view of the busy road; this is the view from the street. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
corner garden in autumn in Niagara County
This corner garden has color and variety. In front from left is hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ which still had pink blooms, a rhododendron with green leaves, a P.J.M. rhododendron, creeping phlox and sedum ‘Autumn Joy’. (These sedum will last through the winter.) In the back of the garden are hostas with leaves turned yellow, an Alberta spruce and a forsythia. In the upper right corner of the photo, the ornamental grass is ‘Morning Light’. Tip: If your sedum flops over, trim it back in the summer, Homme said. Stop trimming in mid-July so you get flower heads on the plants. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
Japanese maple with red seeds
Notice the details in your autumn garden. This Japanese maple has red seeds. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
rose hips in autumn with ornamental owl
An ornamental owl studies the rose hips or seed pods of the rose ‘The Generous Gardener’ at the top of an arbor. The climbing rose grows up to 15 feet tall, Homme said. In summer, the pale pink flowers have an old rose/musk fragrance. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
red twig dogwood in autumn
Red twig dogwood has amazingly colorful bark. It looks great in winter, too. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

5 Comments on “Want a great autumn garden in WNY? Get inspiration here

  1. Thank you the kind comments. We enjoyed having the Wheatfield garden club come visit. Nice ladies. We also enjoyed all the folks that stopped on our Open Gardens on Fridays in July, it is so nice to meet them and share ideas. Connie, your a gem, thanks!

  2. Members of the Wheatfield Garden Club visited their home this past summer. So much to see and enjoy. The Hommes are delightful hosts.

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