The Doty Nurseries Notes

Tree and plant care tips, industry insight and business tips from Doty Nurseries

Planting with Seasonal Interest

CRAFTED BY Kelly Girup


As the spring flowering bulbs start to drop their petals and hang their heads and the wind and rain wipe away the showy and fragrant crab apple and magnolia blooms, the landscape is left looking rugged and exhausted. Although the spring blooms seemed to last longer than normal with cooler temperatures and consecutive no-rain days, it’s important to incorporate plants with seasonal interest into the landscape to make up for these blooming show-offs.


Planting with seasonal interest should always be a priority when designing a new landscape or sprucing up an existing one. But what plants offer multi-seasonal interest and are low maintenance? Here’s a few of Doty Nurseries’ favorites:

  Paperbark Maple / Acer griseum:

Although this ornamental maple is a slow grower, it’s a lovely addition to the landscape. Its cinnamon colored exfoliating bark and stunning, bright orange-red fall color make it an excellent ornamental with multi-season interest. Perfect for a smaller landscape or for an avid gardener, this small tree grows about 25’ tall and 20’ wide.

  Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry / Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’:

Don’t let this spring bloomer fool you. It’s named Autumn Brilliance for a reason. The showy, white blooms in the spring are attractive, but the real show stopper is the brilliant red fall color. Pair that with the attractive purple-red fruit, and you’ve got an A+ ornamental.

  Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn / Crataegus crusgalli ‘Inermis’:

Available in single or multi-stem, this native cultivar performs well in the Northern Illinois soils. When the heat of summer hits, this plant is thriving with its glossy green leaves and white flowers. Fall color is a beautiful display of yellows, oranges and reds.

  Serbian Spruce / Picea omorika:

Structure is what makes this underused, upright evergreen attractive year-round. Arching, pendulous branches show off the underside of the bluish-white needles, making the tips of the branches look silver. With only a width of 25’ at maturity, this spruce is excellent in a smaller landscape as a specimen or planted in a grouping in a larger area.

  Autumn Jazz Viburnum / Viburnum dentatum ‘Ralph Senior’:

It’s hard to choose a favorite viburnum, but ‘Autumn Jazz’ is hard to beat with its uniform upright-oval habit and variety of fall colors. White flower clusters appear in mid-late May, followed by bluish-black fruit in the fall. This Chicagoland Grows variety grows 8’ to 10’ tall and 6’ to 8’ wide and looks best planted in a group, paired with natives and ornamental grasses.

All currently available in our holding yard, these multi-seasonal plants will be sure to add color, structure and texture by freshening up your tired looking landscape.


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