Email Testimonial From a Landscaping Client

It’s emails like this one from a landscaping client on Bainbridge Island that make all the challenges of owning a small business worth it. This is why we do what we do.

Thank you for your business, Kay & Tracey!

bainbridge island landscapers

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Plants & Trees for Fall Color

If you’re in search of the right plants and trees for fall color in the Pacific Northwest, this blog post is for you. Thoughtful plant design results in a garden that offers year-round interest, and fall is the season when some plants finally have their time to shine.

Horticulture consultant Christina Pfeiffer noted at a recent plant seminar I attended at the UW Botanic Gardens that garden practices can affect the quality of fall color. Applying too much nitrogen and moisture through the end of the season can retard color production and delay the onset of dormancy. For good fall color, provide moisture and nutrients early in the growing season, then allow plants a period of mild stress with less water later late in the season. In other words, just like with humans, a little stress kicks certain processes into gear that can be beneficial.

Mamamelis x intermedia 'Diane' in fall

Diane witch hazel photo credit Pacific Horticulture magazine

Here are a few of my favorite plants and trees for fall color and interest:

Diane witch hazel (pictured above) – Known for its deep red flowers in winter, its crimson red fall foliage is a showstopper. It’s classified as a shrub, though it can be pruned to have the appearance of a small tree as it can grow to 20′ tall and 10′ wide. Plant it in your woodland garden or in transition zones where unmanaged land meets landscaped areas.

Beautyberry in fall

Beautyberry photo credit Westchester NY Gardens blog

Beautyberry – I fondly remember my first introduction to this low maintenance, adaptable shrub. The sight of its clusters of small, violet-purple berries captivated and surprised me, as I’m sure it does to every other plant lover who comes across it for the first time. Its ornamental berries attracts birds, perhaps more so once there’s nothing else for them to eat. Plant it alongside sage, lavender or coneflower for a backyard wildlife santuary.

plants trees for fall color

Arthur Menzies mahonia photo taken at Bainbridge Gardens

Arthur Menzies mahonia – This tough, evergreen native offers striking foliage and yellow buds that appear in fall in preparation for winter bloom. Who doesn’t love a winter bloomer? Sprays of yellow flowers develop into grape-like, greenish-blue fruit that turn black by summer. Birds love it. Hummingbirds love it, and rely on its nectar in winter when they most need it.

Oakleaf hydrangea in fall

Oakleaf hydrangea photo credit Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Oakleaf hydrangea – Not only does this hydrangea give you creamy white blooms in the summer, but its leaves turn a brilliant red in fall, with specks of yellow, orange and burgundy. As you can tell from the photo above, this is a fantastic plant for fall color. ‘Alice’ reaches 12′ – 15′ tall and wide, making it a great companion to a small tree. Plant it in a cluster to really feel the impact that this deciduous shrub offers.

Oxydendrum in fall

Sourwood tree photo credit Oregon State

Sourwood – We planted this tree in a client’s front yard in September when its glossy leaves had already transformed from green to a goldish-red color. Should we have returned in a week or so, its leaves at that time would have been maroon. Sourwood is a slow grower, though it will reach 30′ in height in maturity. On our walk through the UW gardens, Christina pointed out a handful of Sourwood trees that had been planted over a hundred years ago. Those old-timers were over 50′ tall and quite majestic.

Meeshka Bernabe Brand

Even though it was a rainy, Northwest day, I very much enjoyed Christina Pfeiffer’s seminar.

By now, some of you reading this may be thinking to yourself, “Why hasn’t she mentioned any Japanese maples?” There’s a good and simple reason for this. Without a doubt, they are reliable trees for fall color. However, homeowners, gardeners and landscapers alike have planted a tremendous amount of Japanese maples in our region, which puts our shared landscape at risk should a disease or insect attack them. The lesson here is that plant diversity is beneficial, and all of us should have another go-to tree for fall color as an alternative to the Japanese maple.

What are your favorite plants and trees for fall color? Log into Facebook and let us know in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Kitsap Harvest Dinner 2014

We had a fantastic time at the Kitsap Community and Agricultural Alliance’s Kitsap Harvest Dinner last Saturday at Olympic College, filling our bellies with fresh, locally sourced food and hanging with Elise and Sam of The Brothers Greenhouses. It was our very first time attending the dinner, and now that we know just how delicious the food is on offer, we’ll definitely be back!

A variety of dishes were available for sampling – guessing, I would say over 30 – served buffet style, cooked up by local chefs. The most incredible thing I tasted that night was the clam chowder created by Jeff McClelland of Harbour Public House. My mouth is watering as I type this. It was the best clam chowder I’ve ever had and puts Ivar’s to shame. As a side note, I am so grateful that Colby and I made the choice to no longer be vegetarians. Because what is clam chowder without bacon?

Kitsap Harvest Dinner

I also really loved the rabbit. I have to admit, eating rabbit that night was slightly challenging for me as I once had a bunny for a pet when I was a little girl. But it was so juicy and so tender that my guilt was squashed by my delighted taste buds. I wish I could give credit where credit is due, so if anyone reading this knows which chef was responsible for the rabbit, please log in to Facebook and leave a comment below!

Also very excellent was Monica Downen’s chantrelle mushroom ragout. I love discovering new foods and new flavors, and while I’ve tasted chantrelles before, this dish was a party in my mouth. Was it the chantrelles or how they were prepared that was the cause of all that excitement? Or perhaps it was the mix of all the other vegetables in the dish that created such culinary dynamism? Who knows. It was so good that I went back for seconds.

Kitsap Harvest Dinner

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert. As full as I was, I helped myself to two servings of Viking Feast Ice Cream. My first serving contained all three flavors in one cup; my second serving contained only the best: pumpkin lord. I’m not sure what exactly pumpkin lord is, but I trust that the label in the picture below is correct.

Kitsap Harvest Dinner

While I was enjoying my ice cream, simultaneously, I was in a bidding war with number 65 for the Silent Auction prize of ‘Lunch with Mayor Patty Lent.’ It was a very close call. If I hadn’t gotten up one final time to ensure that I was indeed the highest bidder, I would have lost. I am so happy that I my competitive nature was with me that night, because sometime soon, I will be lunching with Mayor Patty Lent!

Though it was a short event, it was a fun and memorable evening. We look forward to next year’s Kitsap Harvest Dinner feast.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.