Wonderful autumn color starts to appear in October throughout the garden. The oldest trees predate the founding of the Garden itself, while others were just planted in the Water Garden and Plant Family Collection.
- The katsura tree, just east of Oak Circle. One of the oldest trees in the Garden, this lovely vase-shaped tree is particularly spectacular in fall. Its leaf color progresses in bands from yellow to orange, then to pink and red.
- Rows of deep red scarlet oaks flanking Cherry Esplanade and a small grove of yellow-leaved ginkgos at the southeast corner.
- Black tupelos with brilliant reddish orange foliage in the Water Garden, and a variety of colorful sumacs and maples in the Discovery Garden and behind the Steinhardt Conservatory.
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.
- 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.
Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden: Colorful Vistas
When fall foliage season hits its peak, the 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. It's easy to see why these gorgeous colors have inspired a tradition known as momijigari (“maple viewing”) in Japan.
- 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.
Small shrubs and perennials in glorious fall color at eye level and at your feet along Belle's Brook.
A lovely variety of native plants, many with fall blooms, foliage, and beautiful seed heads, in the Discovery Garden.
Pumpkins and other squashes in the Herb Garden, in a fantastic array of colors and shapes, as well as ripening apples, and colorful ornamental corn.
Sprays of colorful, starlike asters in the Shakespeare Garden, Water Garden, and Discovery Garden.