By Layne Knoche, RORG Landscape Designer
As we move into the middle of October, fall colors are reaching their peak in and around the garden. The Red Oak has begun to change color and Spicebush continues its show of vibrant yellow foliage. The large drifts of Prairie Dropseed have begun to turn to colors of reds, greens, yellows and browns, creating a blanket of beautiful texture across sunny areas of the garden. Late season blooms such as Smooth Blue Aster, Rosinweed, Black Eyed Susan, and ‘Rozanne’ Geranium are still supporting pollinators as they prepare for the winter months ahead.
More than 1,000 plants were recently installed by UIUC Landscape Architecture and Horticulture classes, along with volunteers from the Champaign County Master Gardeners and East Central Illinois Master Naturalists. A large portion of these new plants are native spring bloomers, strengthening RORG’s spring display while providing nourishment for birds and pollinators returning after winter.
In the coming days, 1,000 tulip bulbs will be installed in large drifts across the garden. In the spring, these tulips will coincide with Virginia Bluebell blooms, adding a vibrant mix of orange and blue blooms just before UIUC graduation.