Shades of Red and Green

In an earlier post I wrote about my color perception deficiency, a fairly common mild form of red-green color blindness.  Traipsing around the garden, camera in hand, it dawned on me that much of the fall color on display involved interplay between green and red.

courtyard entrance view

Sarcococca, Nandina, Choysia ternata line the entry courtyard

The above view from our front door, which opens on to the courtyard, is typical of the Pacific Northwest. The Maple and Dogwood in the courtyard entrance are just now coloring up. The  Douglas Fir in the distance provide a backdrop and privacy from the nearest road.


Ornamental Maple at courtyard entrance

Moving in for a closer look (required for me to notice the reddening leaves) yielded this tighter shot of the maple leaves.


An unknown species of a small ornamental maple cultivar

This close up of a pot of Sedums is intense, even to my questionable eye.



Well, maybe not all the fall color is red and green. Here’s Fletcher contrasting nicely with the waning Rudbeckia blooms.

fletcher rain garden

Fletcher in the rain garden admiring the view

No red color for the reliably evergreen and winter blooming Sarcacooca ruscifolia. But later this winter its tiny white flowers will perfume the air around the entrance to our small detatched “west wing.”  The Sarcocooca blooms are followed by red berries that ripen to black. The west wing, a former garage, and the rest of the courtyard is densely planted with Mexican Orange (Choysia ternata), Nandina, Lavender, Columbines, Euphorbia, a small weeping Cherry, and the Sarcacooca ruscifolia.


Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box) and Zoe (Felis domesticus)

The Sarcocooca’s lateral, tassle-like buds (also called axillary buds) cover the plant right now and will open sometime later this winter. In colder climates bloom is expected in Spring. The glossy evergreen leaves are tough and will thrive in shade or part shade, but the plant is usually listed as hardy only to USDA Zone 7.


Sarcaccoca ruscifolia buds will open to small scented white flowers

I’ve always fancied a shapely bamboo in a pot somewhere in the landscape. Sadly, I never considered what I would do after the bamboo became pot bound.  Now I wonder how I’ll ever get the bamboo out without destroying the pot!  Lesson learned:  Never plant a bamboo in a pot where the opening’s diameter is narrower than the middle of the pot.

bamboo-red flowering currant - catoneaster

Pot-imprisoned bamboo between Ribies sanguineum (left)  and Cotoneaster rehderi (right)

On the plus side, those in the know warn that this bamboo Qiongzhuea tumidissinoda, though slow to establish, will eventually become an aggressive spreader. So for now I don’t have that problem, though I suppose it will eventually burst this pot. Anyone have suggestions how to extricate the plant and preserve the pot?

chinese walking stick

Chinese Walking Stick Bamboo youngish canes but showing the bulging culms

This bamboo, besides the pleasing delicate leaves cascading into a fountain like shape, is culturally important to the province of Szechuan, where for centuries it was made into beautiful canes.

Finally, for fall color contrast I vote for the Cotoneaster rehderi.  Despite my red-green color challenged perception issues, the deep red berries pop against a background of  green, veined leaves.

cotoneaster even closer

Cotoneaster rehderi