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Arts & Culture
Henry Homeyer is a life-long organic gardener who has lived in Cornish Flat, NH since 1970 (except for his time in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer and country director).He writes a weekly gardening column that appears in 12 newspapers around New England, and has written for the New York Times, The Boston Globe and other newspapers. Henry teaches organic gardening workshops throughout New England at garden shows, clubs, nurseries, public gardens and other venues, and is a regular contributor to NHPR and Vermont Public Radio.

It's Still Not Too Late To Plant For Fall

Henry Homeyer

Gardening Guy and Cornish Flats resident Henry Homeyer says it’s not too late to plant for fall color.


We are in the peak of fall foliage season in New Hampshire. What are some of your favorite bright colored trees and shrubs?

Well obviously sugar maple is the best; that’s what everyone travels here to see. It’s kind of big to plant in your yard… but there are a lot of smaller things that people can plant as well.

You wrote in your weekly column recently about what is known as 'burning bush' (Euonymus alatus); many listeners may not realize that plant is actually an invasive species that is now banned, but you see it everywhere…

You do. It’s bright red until after Halloween… it’ll grow anywhere… the New Hampshire legislature finally clamped down on it because it is a real pest, choking out other wild flowers.

 What about alternatives?

I love a plant called fothergilla. It is a small slow growing shrub with great fall color – it has reds and purples, orange and yellow- often all four at once. In the spring it has wonderful white flowers.  I love blueberries as a decorative plant; many times they will be red or yellow in the fall- really quite brilliant. Many of the azaleas turn nice color leaves at this time of year… some of the spireas…

Is it too late to plant these now?

I don’t think so. At any rate, if you go to your nursery now and take a look at what appeals to you, you could plant now or go back and get it in the spring. It’s fine either way.

What should you do if you are planting now?

It’s important that the roots don’t freeze up any earlier than they have to. After you plant, put down a good four inch layer of mulch so the ground won’t freeze; that way your roots can be extending and growing right up until the middle of December.

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