The colors of autumn are particularly amazing right now. Below are some of my favorite trees for their autumn color, some of which continue into the winter with a change of bark color and a couple even fill their bare branches with flowers before leaves return in the spring. This winter, try staring at a tree bare of its leaves for a while. You may appreciate this raw structure even more than when there are leaves (as I do).
Cornus (Dogwood tree and shrub)
Dogwoods are exciting and so lovely. Their leaves turn a beautiful red in the autumn, the bark on the shrub varieties then glow red all winter and many trees fill with flowers in the late winter before new leaves form. They give so much color and beauty at a time that often feels dormant.
Acer Palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’ (Japanese maple)
This is another tree that gives bright autumn color and then its bark glows red all winter. It’s a great tree to practice pruning on in the winter. It’s bare limbs resemble veins in a leaf. I have a new one in my front yard this year. I placed an accent light shining up into it and the sinewy structure reflects at night onto our house adding a lot of interest and beauty.
Here’s another tree that gives brilliant autumn color on the leaves and then in the late winter, the bare branches fill with amazing flowers. There are evergreen magnolias, but I’m referring specifically to the deciduous varieties. There are some varieties that remain fairly vertical that are great for the residencial landscape.
These trees are totally exquisite in the autumn and give back a wonderful fruit that we enjoy here in the Bay Area. While in Japan during the harvest season, I saw them hanging everywhere to dry.
There are two types of persimmon fruit, fuyu and hachiya. This a fuyu here on the left. They are round, sort of like an apple and are eaten raw while still hard.
Hachiya, here on the right, is more oval shaped and best used when soft and cooked. If you’ve ever mistakenly bit into a raw hachiya, it may have been like licking a chalkboard, not fun! But cooked into breads and puddings at the holidays, it’s a great alternative to squash.