Once again, our attention is grabbed by Mother Nature. The lush green landscapes of summer are transformed into jewel toned wonders.If you're considering adding one of these colorful beauties to your landscape the best way to start is by taking a walk.

State and national parks are great places to see a variety of trees and shrubs. If you have an acreage to landscape, these would be great places for you to start. Your tree line can reflect the layering of understory growth that you'll find as you wander the trails.

City parks and arboretums are another option. Trees and shrubs in these locations have often been planted to display their best characteristics.  Many of them are marked so that you know what you're looking at. Carrying a small notebook to jot down names may come in handy. Or you can take a picture to catalog your finds. When looking at trees and shrubs in parks you can get a more precise idea of what to expect as they grow. Their height, width, and form are there for you to see.

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Another opportunity to consider is at an independent garden center. Many garden centers still have a good selection and Fall is a  perfect time of year for planting trees and shrubs. Roots have a chance to establish before Winter sets in and the temperatures are cooler, putting less stress on both the plant and the gardener. And garden centers usually have great sales at this time!

When you find a color that appeals to you, you may be tempted to over plant that particular specimen. Diversity is the key to good planting. Disease and storms can ravage your landscape and you could be left with a gaping hole. Interspersing trees and shrubs helps to insure a continuous landscape flow, when, and if, damage occurs.

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Several trees that you may want to consider are the Royal Red Norway Maple, zone 3, the Ohio Buckeye, zone 2, and the American Hornbeam, zone 3. The colors of these trees range from deep purple to blends of red, yellow, and orange. One colorful shrub that I love is the Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac. It's hardy to zone 3 and has wonderful red color in the Fall.

So the next time you're out on a stroll, remember that the colors you see can be added to your own back yard.