The Rockery in Autumn

A couple of years ago I was afraid I would lose the star of our rockery, our Japanese Maple, as a fungal infection got one of its main branches. After treating it promptly, and chopping back some overhanging trees to give it breathing space, it seems to have fully recovered. I’m so glad we could save it!

The grasses below the maple come into their own at this time of year, especially when the wind rushes through them.

The tall grass is Miscanthus sinensis, and the short one in front of it is a dwarf Miscanthus – ‘Adagio’, pictured again below. Adagio only grows to about 1.5 metres (under 5 ft), and starts flowering late summer. It’s one of my favourites because I can leave it standing all winter and it doesn’t get untidy or flattened (unless we have really heavy snow).

This grass (pictured below) at the top of the rockery has flourished this year after a slow start last year (planted spring 2011). It is very slow to grow in the early summer, but then suddenly shoots up at the end of August! However, I have noticed it is spreading, so will have to watch it doesn’t become invasive. It was sold to me as a carex, but I’m not sure about that. (Maybe you know what it is?)

Another very good plant for dry ground and autumn colour is the outstanding Persicaria amplexicaulis (Firetail)

It adds height and interest to the rockery in autumn when all other flowers are slowly dying back. The background leaf is a Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald and Gold’ – beautiful all year round.

Note: All these photos were taken last week, and within days the garden has changed, with more golds and the acer’s leaves now falling…

Enjoy the rest of the autumn while it lasts, everyone!

46 thoughts on “The Rockery in Autumn

  1. The colour of that autumnal maple is incredible! Mine don’t achieve as clear and deep tones: perhaps the type, perhaps a warmer climate!

    • I’m not sure if it’s a palmatum or japonicum, probably the former as these are more common in German nurseries. They do turn a beautiful colour.

  2. Love your maple – what a gorgeous colour! Your grass looks like an invasive species we call ribbon grass here – don’t know the botanical name, though. It is definitely pretty, if you can keep it contained!

    • Thanks Susie – I love the firetail too. It does so well in that spot where the rockery is particularly challenging – shade from October to March, then hot sun the rest of the year.

  3. I love Acers, lovely colours. I said when we moved into out house last year, that I would plant one (had to leave ours behind in the previous garden), but haven’t got round to it yet.

    • Hi Mary – the grasses are wonderful this year. I’m surprised, as the summer was so hot and dry. But they all caught up with growth in September!

  4. Ah, I wish we could grow Japanese maples here! They are so wonderful!

    I agree with Melody, I believe your unknown grass is ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinacea) – there are all sorts of cultivars, including quite a few with variegated foliage. They are beautiful and very hardy, and unfortunately, extremely aggressive.

    • I suppose the Japanese maples are not hardy enough? Does ribbon grass flower? The pictures I’ve found all have lovely seed heads, but mine is showing no signs of flowering… Thanks Sheryl – I shall keep my eye on it and if it starts to spread it will have to go!

  5. Your Japanese maple is simply wonderful. Such a vivid red! Of course it takes a great photographer like you to do it justice!

  6. Cathy, your Japanese Maple in autumn colours is wonderful. I´m glad too that it has recovered – surely as you gave it much tender loving care…
    As to the unknown green-white grass I think I have the same plant. It was given to me by a friend.
    My grass is about 40 to 50 cm high, doesn´t flower, but spreads out and – sorry – I don´t know its
    name. On occasion I`ll ask Johanna.

  7. Beautiful bed! I have been mulling around doing a bed especially for fall, a Japanese Maple is a perfect centerpiece! Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Pretty photos Cathy. Love that spot you have and am glad you saved it. I want one here but only certain ones wil take what we in New England have thrown at us. We had a 4.0 Earthquake last week this weekend maybe a Hurricane, “Sandy” it is NUTS! 🙂
    Now to go check out that yummy meal you posted 🙂

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