In the Garden: October

By Layne Knoche, RORG Landscape Designer

September has come and gone, and was a month full of work in and around the Red Oak Rain Garden. For more on all of the work, watch for an upcoming blog covering the fall 2021 installations. For now, let’s look ahead to one of our favorite months in the garden: October!

As we’ve learned from the past few years, RORG in mid-to-late fall is gorgeous. Our native shrubs such as Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) and Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) will begin their fall color displays in the next two or three weeks. Fall blooming native species like Smooth Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) and Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida) will continue their floral shows, even through our first frosts and freezes that typically occur in the second half of the month.

Nearby trees will begin to change color towards the end of the month, as well. In particular, Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), located around the Dorner Drive Retention Pond just to the south of the garden, are so beautiful in the fall that we decided to plant three new ones just east of the garden. We also installed three new Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica) trees on the southeast side of the garden, as well as several Bottlebrush Buckeyes (Aesculus parviflora). The combination of these new trees and shrubs will add to the beautiful fall color we already had in the area!

Country Arbors staff recently installed Bald Cypress on the east side of the Garden. Photo by Layne Knoche.

Pollinators will still be very active through at least the first half of the month, as they prepare for the upcoming winter. Migrating birds have been seen in and around the garden, and the last of the Monarch Butterflies can be seen as they make their way south to Mexico, where they will overwinter.

There is still some work to be done at RORG for our fall installations. Early in the month, the CFIV Extension Rainscaping class will be installing several hundred more plants in RORG and the new expansion garden, and more ‘Prinses Irene’ tulips will be installed to expand on our staple display of those paired with our native Virginia Bluebells.

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