By now, most garden color is usurped by dry leaves strewn on the lawn and the blue wash of sky above. But some vibrant hues remain. Salvia 'Victoria' is still standing tall and blue. Buddleia 'Lo and Behold' retains flower panicles for late butterflies and bees. Hamamelis 'Jelena' sports bright yellow leaves, as does the 'Goldmound' spirea just outside my front door. The dangling flower buds on pieris 'Mountain Fire' are bright red, and honeysuckle 'Alabama Crimson' boasts not only sprightly yellow leaves, but clusters of orange flowers.
But the best of the lot is the oakleaf hydrangea. The last shrub to color up in my semi-shady backyard garden, it boasts large interestingly-shaped leaves of mingled purple, green, red and burgundy. Dried summer flowers in ivory hues add to the intrigue of this native, underused shrub.
It's possible, even deep into November here in southern New England, to have color in the garden. Makes one glad to be a tiller of the soil.