If you thought that the fall was merely a precursor to the dead winter when it comes to gardening, think again. There are all kinds of plants that can bring color and interest to your yard even as the days grow grayer and colder.
The blue rug juniper is a ground-hugging shrub, and its leaves change color with the season but don't fall off. The foliage is blue-green with a silver tinge in spring and summer, and as the weather cools, it turns a rich purplish-green. Blue rug junipers like sunny areas and are also useful in preventing erosion from embankments.
The Autumnalis cherry tree, as its name suggests, flowers not only in spring but also in the fall. This large tree (up to 35 feet/10.7 meters tall, and just as wide if left unpruned) brings a full head of pale pink flowers at least twice a year. It has the added advantage of being immune to that nasty parasite common to cherry trees, the Asian ambrosia beetle.
The Rose Glow barberry is rose-like not only in color; it also has many sharp thorns. The pink to burgundy variegated leaves are stunning all year round, but their glow is especially outstanding as other plants begin to die back. This low-growing shrub prefers moderate sun.
Autumn Flame red maples are a fall gift for the eyes. The red leaves add a glow of warmth to their surroundings and stay on the tree longer than many other maple leaves. The tree can grow up to 60 feet (18 meters) tall and requires plenty of water.
Sweet autumn clematis is an aggressive climber: Don't let it take over your yard, but do give it plenty of space to show off its strong green leaves and striking white flowers, which bloom well into the fall. The seedpods are also attractive, but cut them off before they fall or you're likely to end up with more plants than you want.