The garden is awash in red this month. I enjoy the fringe benefits of this ivy that grows up the side of my neighbour's house. During the summer, it does a fine job of hiding the massive brick facade but this is the climber at its best.
The ivy is lovely and practical but when it comes to the colour red, nothing beats the burning bush. This picture simply doesn't do it justice. I planted two of them years ago without any knowledge of their fiery fall display. What a stroke of garden luck. I couldn't have guessed how much I would come to love them. They have been feeding my desire for more red in the garden for about eight or nine years now.
My passion for red was one of the reasons I chose to add a serviceberry to the garden this year. All the garden magazines and books promised that serviceberries provide a great fall display of yellow, orange and red. I have not been disappointed. I do have one concern about this shrub. During an open gardens tour last month, a gardener told me that he twice tried to plant serviceberries and twice he gave up. The reason: raccoons. He said the raccoons love the berries so much they climb all over the shrubs. The branches break because of the raccoons' weight or through sheer brute force as they tug on the branches to reach the berries. I had more broken branches this summer than I care to remember. I'll have to think of a way to outwit these masked bandits, but that is probably a fool's mission.
I have also added a number of new shrubs to the garden. All of them, including this Silveredge Dogwood, prominently feature the colour red. With the dogwood the branches are the star attraction. This shrub will become the wall of my first ever garden room. I'm tired of restricting my plantings to the outer edges of the yard. So I'm starting to carve deeper into the moddle of the lawn to build garden rooms. Whether I will succeed in creating these secret garden spaces remains to be seen. Also doing their bit to help: an llex "Jack Dandy" with his partner Ilex verticillata "Red Sprite." The berries are astounding. I have also planted a black chokeberry featuring blue berries and, what else, red hot foliage. The best part: I found all the plants listed at 50-75% off. A red-tag sale made for a gardener who loves seeing red.