Adjacent to the rock garden, a patio in the middle of the yard is flanked by a mixed bed of shrubs, perennials and grasses offering a riot of colour and texture in autumn. Here, a highbush blueberry turns flaming red and vies for attention with a river of ornamental golden Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’), with its striped green-and-chartreuse leaves. This grass has become a favourite accent plant throughout the garden. “In June, the Hakonechloa has to compete with peonies, so you don’t notice it then. But by the fall, you really see it,” says Liliana. Next to the blueberry bush resides a ligularia with burgundy-veined, dark green foliage.
Balancing out the bed is another of Liliana’s beloved grasses, ‘Kleine Fontaine’ eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Kleine Fontaine’). “This is the earliest grass that blooms in my garden,” she says. Also strutting its stuff in the late-season border is Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha).
Towering above the bed is a ‘Sunburst’ honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos ‘Sunburst’), which had been heavily damaged during the 1998 ice storm and painstakingly nursed back to health, and is one of six mature trees—the others are three pines, an apple and a maple—in the backyard that provide important bones in the landscape.
The back garden is also encompassed by a large perennial border that runs around all three sides of the yard, in front of the cedar hedge. The emphasis changes seasonally, and by autumn, bloom colour comes courtesy of a variety of plants, among them blue and crimson asters, pink chrysanthemums and anemones, and yellow, orange and red sneezeweed (Helenium).