Monrovia Plant Savvy
design, inspiration and practical ideas from the plant experts. October 2011
reaping the rewards of your garden

Dear Savvy Gardener,


Trees and shrubs love fall!  Well, they love to be planted in the fall.  Now is an ideal time to get your plants in the ground so they can begin to establish a strong root system before the heat of spring and summer.

Winter precipitation means less watering to get a plant established, and there will be fewer insects in cooler weather. If you have very cold winters, wait to plant more tender varieties until spring. But most trees, conifers and shrubs are ideal for fall planting.

 Before you start, it’s a good idea to do a few of those post-summer chores throughout the garden, like deadheading flowers, cleaning out dead leaves and amending the soil.  Use an organic soil amendment to feed the soil with important nutrients.  This will give your new plantings a healthy beginning.

  Coral Bark Japanese Maple offers year round interest. When its fiery fall foliage drops, you can enjoy the brilliant coral bark on young branches all winter long.
Coral Bark Japanese Maple offers year round interest. When its fiery fall foliage drops, you can enjoy the brilliant coral bark on young branches all winter long.
  Emperor 1® Japanese Maple leafgif   do some tree-search

Do a bit of research to find the right trees for your garden.  In our plant catalog, you’ll find more than 300 varieties! In cooler climates, deciduous trees will provide shade in the summer, yet when they drop their leaves in the fall, allow the sun to warm the house.  Size and location are important considerations -- don’t place too close to the house or where roots could eventually lift sidewalks.  More and more people are asking for smaller trees, and there are plenty of excellent choices.  Japanese Maples are stunning specimens and provide dramatic foliage colors.  Autumn Moon has burnt orange leaves that mature to chartreuse, and the dark red foliage of Emperor 1® turns scarlet in the fall.  

  Silver Cloud Redbud

Lavender Twist® Redbud

leafgif   time to plant some roots

Redbuds are small trees that provide an explosion of spring blossoms. Silver Cloud has variegated foliage and rosy-pink flowers.  The pink-purple flowers of Lavender Twist® appear on bare, twisted, weeping branches, followed by green heart-shaped foliage.  Another striking tree with a weeping habit is Cheal’s Weeping Cherry.  Double pink flowers adorn its weeping branches and hold until the leaves appear.  Its shiny copper, peeling bark provides winter interest.  Magnolias, like Royal Star with its double white fragrant flowers or Merrill with large star-like flowers, are attractive deciduous trees.  If you want evergreens, in warmer climates look to citrus, such as Variegated Calamondin Orange or Improved Meyer Lemon and enjoy the blossoms and fruit.

  Compact Strawberry Bush

The Blues Blue Spruce

leafgif   evergreen shrubs

Compact Strawberry Bush is an interesting addition to the garden. Its dense, upright branches hold masses of white flowers followed by red strawberry-like fruit.  For dazzling year-round color, Gold Rider Leyland Cypress has bright golden-yellow tipped foliage, backed by the lime green interior foliage. Yvonne Port Orford Cedar has similar coloring, with bright gold and green foliage. 

This variety is part of the Guardian Series™, grown on a root stock that is resistant to Phytophthora lateralis.  If you want a conversation piece in your garden, The Blues Blue Spruce will have people asking if it is supposed to look like that!  Weeping branches and irregularly spreading and drooping top create a unique, bright silvery-blue specimen.

  Arctic Fire™ Red Twig Dogwood



These deciduous shrubs delight the eye in spring with a plethora of pink or white flowers, but Dogwoods have a nice upright structure that looks interesting in the winter without foliage – especially the red twig or yellow twig varieties.  Try Variegated Red Twig , with its blood red stems and pretty green foliage with creamy white margins and white blooms. Two smaller varieties, reaching just three to four feet, are Arctic Fire™ and Arctic Sun™.  Both have pretty white flowers, and colorful branches.  Arctic Sun™ has yellow branches tipped in red.