We are Details Landscape Art, a boutique landscape contractor based in Sonoma County. We design and build fine gardens in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Windsor, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Penngrove and Forestville, as well as in Marin County and Napa County. An earlier post (9/22/15) discussed color and contrast in designing the garden planting scheme. One of the key colors in the planting palette is deep red.
The burgundy, maroon, and purple-red color contrasts well with gold (coleonema ‘Gold Sunset’), many bright greens, silver green foliage (Society Garlic) and white flowers, as well as lavender blues and periwinkle. Following is a list and description of our favorite trees and shrubs with various shades of deep red:
-Cercis Canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (Western redbud) – Absolutely one of the best small patio trees, this deciduous tree can be used anywhere in the garden, and is interesting all year long. Purple flowers emerge in the spring before leafing out, followed by small heart shaped burgundy leaves that last all summer into the fall.
-Cotinus coggygria or ‘Grace’ (Smoke tree) – Upright and spreading, typically to fifteen feet tall and wide, the smoke tree is a multi-stemmed deciduous tree or shrub, with large panicles that appear after the flowers, giving a smokey haze to branch tips. It gives the illusion of a puff of smoke. They come in a varietiy of cultivars, but ‘Royal Purple’ and ‘Grace’ are the deep reddish foliaged varieties.
-Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) – there are hundreds of varieties of Japanese maples available, some low and mounding, some upright standards, some red, some green. Among the lower ‘umbrella’ shaped maples are ‘Red Dragon’ (tolerates the most sun), Everred’, Crimson Queen’ and ‘Tamukeyana’ (tolerates the most shade). They are all showstopper specimens, which we like to feature in prominent places in the garden. Upright red varieties include ‘Bloodgood’, Emperor One, and Moonfire, and grow to about twenty feet tall and wide. It seems like the red varieties hold their red color longer into late summer when they have afternoon shade. They all exhibit beautiful fall foliage before dropping their leaves in late fall or early winter.
-Lorapetalum chinense (Chinese fringe flower) – A member of the Witchhazel family, this beautiful evergreen shrub comes in a number of varieties, both deep red and green. The deep red varieties require part sun and part shade to retain their purpleish color. Our favorites are ‘Ever Red’ (Chang Nian Hong’) and ‘Purple Majesty’.
-Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) – This is one of our favorite full sun plants with deep red foliage. And although deciduous, retains its dark color with darker bare branches in the winter. It is one of the most deer resistant plants and is tough and hardy in the landscape. Several varieties we use are:
Berberis T. ‘Roseglow’ – this is one of our favorites because we love the pink striation in the leaf. It has an upright, arching habit to five feet tall and about four to five feet wide.
Berberis T. ‘Concorde’ – dwarf variety with very dark foliage
Berberis T. ‘Crimson Pygmy’ – another dwarf variety