October in My Garden

Lots of things are winding down, but three plants are still spectacular, and I wanted to share them with you.

Beautyberry is the most perfectly named garden plant I can think of. For most of its year, it is decidedly unremarkable. Just a nice green shrub with long viney arms. But come fall, it puts on an amazing show. Clusters of small berries march along the stems, in the most astonishing color. I don’t even know what to call that color – magenta, fuchsia, somewhere in there.

Closeup of the berries

The show is spectacular but short-lived, because once the birds find the berries among the leaves, it’s game over.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana) is a perennial shrub, decidedly easy to grow. The only thing I have to do each year is prune it lightly in the spring to keep the stems tumbling down in a tight formation, otherwise they grow in all untidy directions.




Fuchsia. I also have a wonderfully robust fuchsia. Which one? I have no idea. There are about a bajillion cultivars, and about five years ago I bought something with very dramatic flowers, but two years later it had reverted to this, which I think of as “basic garden-variety fuchsia.” No matter, I love it. It starts blooming in May and it’s still going strong in October. Hummingbirds love it.


Beautyberry and fuchsia are close friends in my garden.

Lemon verbena.  This is my second year with this perennial herb, and it has now come into its own. Except for lemons themselves, lemon verbena has the strongest lemony taste of any plant. It’s wonderful to have in your garden, for adding to lemonade, for brewed tea, for anyplace you need a hint of lemon but don’t have the fresh fruit on hand. I love to pick off a leaf and give it to visitors, asking them to smell. Inevitably, they swoon.

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