Fall Highlights

Native Flora Garden: Brilliant Foliage and Soft Textures

The Native Flora Garden's small forest is stunning in autumn and contains some of the oldest plants in the Garden.

Look for

  • The 100-foot-tall, century-old sweet gum tree with deep crimson foliage, just inside the upper gate, to the right of the path.
  • A gorgeous black tupelo, nearly as old, near the kettle pond. Its foliage starts out gold and progresses to deep orange and then to brilliant red.
  • Sumacs with dramatic multihued foliage, throughout the garden. Often you can see green, yellow, orange, and red leaves on a single plant at once!

Also be sure to visit the meadow, where you’ll see colorful grasses and wildflowers, as well as the feathery seed heads of butterfly milkweed and fluffy white Virgin’s bower, a species of clematis.

Cranford Rose Garden: Late Bloomers, Bright Fruits, and Wildlife

Fall roses? Yes, after a glorious summer of blooms, a lovely second flush usually occurs in September, with flowers lasting into October or even early November. Fall is also the time to see hips, the fruit of the rose.

Look for

  • Hybrid tea roses. Almost all of the modern hybrids have been bred to bloom repeatedly into the fall. The pink, double-flowered Rosa 'La France', a specimen located in the garden's westernmost bed, was introduced in 1867, marking the birth of the modern hybrid rose tradition.
  • Grandiflora roses, like Rosa ‘Sunshine Daydream’, many of which are also beautiful fall bloomers.
  • Rose hips in all shapes, textures, and colors—round, oblong, pear-shaped, spiky, or smooth, and anywhere from bright orange to deep red and black.

The Cranford Rose Garden is also an excellent place to watch fall wildlife: Squirrels and birds come by to eat rose hips. Mockingbirds are especially frequent feeders here. You might hear their call before you spot one.

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden: Colorful Vistas

In autumn in Japan, nature lovers make a point of admiring the gorgeous colors of maple foliage, a tradition known as momijigari (“maple viewing”). BBG’s Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden offers sweeping views of a landscape filled with many maple species and cultivars in unrivaled shades of orange, red, yellow, and purple.

Look for

  • Three gorgeous 20-foot-tall Japanese maples, just inside the front gate. These cultivars (Acer palmatum 'Scolopendrifolium') have lacy leaves that turn many shades of red and purple.
  • Two cutleaf maples with gracefully twisted trunks and branches, along the path near the island. Their foliage will progress from a brilliant yellow to deep reddish orange.
  • Evergreens throughout the garden, pruned in the Japanese tradition to make them appear windswept and old.

The structures and paths in a Japanese garden help create composed views. Notice the different perspectives as you stand in the teahouse-style pavilion, on the wooden bridge across the pond, and along the path leading to the Shinto shrine, near the highest point in the garden.

Also see

Bonsai Museum

Carefully pruned specimens to be contemplated for their unique beauty, up close—a quiet counterpoint to the sweeping scenes in the Japanese Garden.

Herb Garden

Pumpkins and other squashes in a fantastic array of colors and shapes, ripening apples, and colorful ornamental corn.

Osborne Garden

Ripe, red crabapples, dangling wisteria pods, a gorgeous red-leafed sourwood tree, and a pair of Japanese maple trees—one with yellow foliage, the other with red—intertwined.

Rock Garden

Beautiful boulders, set off by bright fall foliage and alpine evergreens.

Visitor Center

The living roof in fall color, plus treetop views of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.

Rose 'Sunshine Daydream'
Rosa 'Sunshine Daydream' in the Cranford Rose Garden. Grandiflora. Photo by Blanca Begert.
Swamp Milkweed
Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) in the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Blanca Begert.
Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden
The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden in autumn. Photo by Dave Allen.
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