Iowa Autumn Leaves and Fall Color Displays are Waiting for You
As the different types of trees show their many variations of purple, yellow, red, brown, and orange, remember there are other sources of fall color -- like shrubs and grasses -- and a B&B nearby from which to view a fall adventure.
First popular in the late 1800s as part of Victorian era gardens, ornamental grass has again become popular. Mostly due to its low maintenance needs, versatility and striking form. Not only does grasses like Panicum virgatum "Shenandoah" fulfill these specifications, it also flaunts attractive, deep red and burgundy foliage during the fall months. The cultivar is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9 and grows in clump formations.
Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) is an upright, suckering multi-stemmed shrub that grows 6 to 8 feet tall. Noted for its red fruit in late summer and fall. Leaves turn a reddish purple in fall. The variety 'Brilliantissima' produces the best fall color (scarlet) and a large crop of glossy red fruit. And, Redosier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) is a native Iowa shrub that grows about 6 to 8 feet tall. Its bright red twigs are attractive in winter. Several varieties are available. 'Isanti' and 'Kelseyi' are compact, red-stemmed shrubs. 'Flaviramea' has yellow stems. All three are beautiful in fall.
The biggest challenge to a successful fall color expedition is venturing out when there is a good array of color. The thought of going over your favorite scenic hill and seeing nothing but brown, dull-colored, or leafless trees on the other side is every leaf color adventurer's nightmare. This apprehension can be avoided by calling ahead of your departure to see when the colors are peaking. Find out about your favorite area in the state by calling the Iowa Department of Iowa Natural Resources (DNR) Leaf-Line at 515-233-4110. Another way would be to call ahead to a bed and breakfast in the area you plan to visit and ask the innkeeper about any local fall color events and areas nearby.
Iowa Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers Associ
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