In the week past Seriyu and Lion’s Head maples have dropped their brilliantly colored foliage, the maples and poplars along the border of the garden are bare, and with only scattered evergreens to shield the property neighboring houses are readily seen. I value the large evergreen hollies, cypress, spruce, and Alaskan cedars, in particular when the deciduous leaves have dropped, but prefer some of each in the garden.
A few leaves cling to the Chinese dogwoods and the large weeping beech, but the foliage is bedraggled at the start of December. The leaves of Oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia, below) have not begun to drop, though they turned to a deep red more than a month earlier. These are wonderful shrubs, underutilized at the borders of shaded gardens with large, leathery, oak-like leaves, huge panicles of white blooms, and prolonged autumn foliage color.
Spireas (Spirea thunbergii ‘Ogon’, below) are rarely considered for their autumn foliage, but the leaves turn late in the season, and shine after other trees and shrubs have faded. ‘Ogon’, sometimes sold under the trade name ‘Mellow Yellow’, has yellow needle-like foliage and relatively inconspicuous white blooms in early spring, and in late November the shrub shimmers in the afternoon sun.