Watch our blog for a fun new feature each season: The Garden staff’s seasonal plant picks! Our dedicated horticultural staff, Heidi, Roseann, Vicki, and Sarah, have worked at the Garden for a combined 23 years. We’ve come to love our plant collection and have found many favorites over the years. Here are some of our favorites for the fall season. All these plants are available in the MsK Nursery!

Heidi: Dead man’s fingers (Decaisnea fargesii)

This is a quirky plant, as its name suggests. Heidi likes the plant’s tropical, exotic look. This shrub reaches a height of 15 feet or more. With a narrow form and foliage clustered at the top, it works well when planted amongst other shrubs. Plant it where you can enjoy its best feature: The surprisingly blue, bean-like seedpods that dangle from it in early fall. They are creepily fitting for Halloween, which coincidentally is Heidi’s birthday.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Roseann: Native Delphiniums (Delphinium menzesii, D. trollifoilium, and D. nuttallii).

“I love blue flowers,” says Roseann. “There are so many fantastic native blue wildflowers: Penstemons, camas, lupines, asters… I could go on and on. But, the wildflower that utterly captivates me is our native Delphinium. I early await them each spring. With almost iridescent shades of the most gorgeous blues and just a touch of a white throat, I can’t think of anything more lovely.” Well said. Need I say more? Many gardeners plant wildflowers in the spring, but fall planting is actually more advantageous for many of our perennial natives.

Delphinium nuttallii pictured with camas. Photo by Roseann Barnhill.

Vicki: Garry oak (Quercus garryana)

The Garry oak is Washington State’s only native oak. It is often found on Western Washington’s prairies, which are threatened by urban development. Vicki appreciates the tree’s sinuous branching structure and admires its tough constitution. “This is a native tree to plant for posterity,” she says. “It grows slowly, but strongly, and can live for 500 years.” The foliage turns earthy tones of orange and yellow in fall and the acorns are harvested by birds and mammals during this season.

Quercus garryana v.brewerii, a dwarf form of Garry oak. Photo by Roseann Barnhill.

Sarah: Japanese wheel tree (Trochodendron araliodes)

As the deciduous trees begin to lose their leaves each fall, I appreciate the steadfastness of this evergreen tree anew. Our best specimen, located next to the Kruckeberg house, is the largest I have ever seen. Though uncommonly planted in our region, this lovely tree is a great choice for smaller gardens and should be used more. It thrives here. Mareen Kruckeberg propagated numerous Trochodendrons before her death in 2003, resulting in a glut of young trees in the Nursery.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.