Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall Color Project 2011

The older I get, the more I love autumn.  Crisp, cool days--a welcome reprieve from the summer's sweltering heat--the smell of ripe apples falling from the tree, the hum of combines harvesting the fields.  But most of all, the strongest sensory impression is watching the trees change color from their uniform summer green to glorious shades of gold, orange, and red.  What a glorious show Mother Nature puts on before the big winter sleep.

Each year I like to participate in  Dave's  Fall Color Project  as a way of recording the beauty of fall. This year the show began in late September and continued through the month of October.

The white ash nearest the front of our house is always the first to turn.  Its leaves turn a deep purple and then drop quickly before the rest of the trees have even begun to think about changing.

Another ash tree nearer to the road begins the change a little later.  As the first harbingers of the fall color show, they make me a little sad as I hear the reports of spottings of the dreaded Emerald Ash Borer closer and closer each year.  I'm afraid these trees' time may be limited.

By early October the honey locust trees create a canopy of bright gold.

The redbud tree echoes this color, which looks especially dazzling on a bright sunny day.

Driving downtown to run some errands, I always pass my favorite tree in the autumn.  I was too slow this year, because by the time I remembered to take my camera along, this large maple had already dropped most of its leaves.   Just a week before, it was a vision of orange, covered in masses of glowing leaves.  

 I'm not so sure the homeowners appreciate this tree as much as I do, though:)

Down a back street, there were other maples, however, that were still full of leaves. This one is beautiful, but how about another look at it . . .

. . . for a full frontal view--not quite so pretty now, is it?  There are several trees like this around town, but they don't seem as noticeable until fall.  All of them are in older neighborhoods where I'm sure the power lines existed before the trees were planted--a good illustration for careful site selection when planting new trees. 

I had hoped to take more photos around town and maybe even visit the nearby forest preserve, but time got away from me.  As it was, there was plenty of fall color in my own front and back yards.  Driving back home, the small roadside garden isn't much to look at in early October, but no one much notices the shriveled plants and dried seedheads when the burning bushes put on such a display.

The vivid red of these shrubs scream to be noticed by anyone driving past.

While the trees command most of the attention in the fall, if you take the time to look closely, you will notice the garden has its own fall wardrobe.  Everyone notices the hydrangea blooms that age so gracefully, but the foliage is equally pretty. In early October the leaves began to take on tinges of a purplish-red.

Today, when I walked out to the garden for the first time in over a week, 
the change was even more dramatic.

The leaves of the fothergilla show a variety of colors, though it, like the rest of the new shrubs I planted in front of the house last fall, was a disappointment this year.  I think the drought really affected them, and I'm hoping they do better next year.

No disappointment here, however--the Amsonia tabernaemontana positively glows in the early morning light of early November.

Even the common rough-eared dogwood, much less refined than its sophisticated relatives, put on some bright colors this fall.

Back to the trees . . . the old Burr Oak isn't known for its color, its leaves turning shades of bronze.

 But this granddaddy of all my trees doesn't need a gaudy appearance to be appreciated at any time of year.  Its size and age are enough to earn it respect.

In my yard, Mother Nature has apparently decided to save the best for last.  When the other trees have already lost their leaves, the maple is just beginning its transformation.

First, a few leaves at the top begin to change, and as the days pass by, the progress continues slowly down the tree, until it all is covered in a brilliant orange.

The timing couldn't be more perfect--this was how it looked on the day of our Halloween party, just the right accent for orange pumpkins!

 I'm a little later than I had intended in posting my contribution for this year's fall color project--I've been out of town for the past week, visiting my Daughter and new Son-in-law and seeing some fall color of a different sort . . .

. . . I think you can guess exactly where I have been:)  When I arrived home last night, I was surprised at how warm it still was here in central Illinois, but I also noticed this morning that all the trees are now bare.  I'm glad I didn't leave before having time to enjoy this year's beautiful show of fall color. 

  Whether fall is still showing its colors in your area or you've already been visited by Old Man Winter, you will enjoy seeing other scenes of autumn at Dave's Garden and The Fall Color Project.


  1. Welcome back. Such lovely color in your neck of the woods. That last maple is indeed a treat. I love this time of the year to see the different sides of trees. They are so amazing.

    I am sorting my seeds and you said you wanted some cosmos? If so then please email me your address so I can get them out to you this week. Seed prepping is always something I hate to do but the MG seed swap tomorrow forces me so I have it almost done. Yeah me.

  2. We had a lovely sugar maple in front of the house I grew up in, and I will always remember playing in the fabulous leaves that fell each fall.

    This year we've had a bit more color than in past --my hosta leaves turned bright yellow, and the norway maples are a much brighter yellow than usual. Our korean spice bush turned a lovely shade of pink, and my two newly-planted blueberry bushes, although tiny, were bright red.

    As I write this, however, it is snowing big fat flakes.

  3. I am glad you got to see some fall color before you departed Rose. The temp has dropped 12 degrees since this moring. Brrrr. It feels like the wind is ushering in winter. Hold on to your hat.

  4. Dear Rose, Maples are so beautiful and they color up so much better just a few hundred miles further north! Ours a golden yellows~ When I say ours I mean the ones in our city! I love, autumn, too. The cooler days and no mosquitoes are a treat. gail

  5. I enjoyed all these images and bright colors but my favorite shot was of the fallen leaves.

  6. Although I loved all the images.... my favourites are the fallen leaves and the vivid reds.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  7. It's been warm here too over the past few days - almost like Indian summer.

    Love your trees. I remember that magnificent maple from other years - it's a beauty! And those burning bushes really are gorgeous.
    Welcome home!

  8. Great photos! I felt like the fall color was a little slow to get going around here but is now looking really nice.

  9. Ooooo, I love that last Maple! It's stunning! I agree about the Hydrangea foliage--the variegated leaves are fascinating. We also have a couple of Dwarf Lilacs that have unique variegated foliage. Good stuff. Great post!

  10. Rose, is that the most perfectly shaped Maple!?
    I don't know when I will ever get down there, our son is hosting a tailgate (lot 33! Look for Chemical Engineers!) this coming Sat, but dad is going down because our town is in the football play-offs and I cannot miss them!

  11. Beautiful! I love that orange maple. The hydrangeas are pretty neat too with the color changing from the edges of the leaves. I think I like your fall color better than your daughter's! Congrats to the new couple btw!

  12. Your Autumn picks are so full of color! We had an early snow and a lot of branches broke because the leaves were still on the trees.
    I find fall my favorite season as I get older too.

  13. Rose girl I totally forgot about Dave's Colour Project .. darn !
    You have such stunning trees here .. especially the perfect maple and with the timing to glow ORANGE for that Halloween party .. you couldn't ask for more ! LOL
    It had been very warm here too .. eerie .. too warm type of thing .. now it is very windy and cold .. and parts of Ontario have had snow .. but we escaped .. so far ..we know it is coming though!
    Gorgeous picture Rose .. that maple is a stunner !
    Joy : )

  14. I hope your White Ash trees remain healthy as their fall color is gorgeous. And your Sugar Maple -- magnificent!!

  15. Such beautiful fall color in your neck of the woods Rose!

    I love fall - the colors, the cooler weather, and the light.

  16. The fall colors are so vivid! Fall is my favorite time of the year.

  17. Beautiful photos! I sooo agree with you on fall and how sweet it is! I really love your photo of the maple in your yard! How breath taking! Cheers!

  18. What a lovely celebration of autumn colour, that maple is spectacular.

  19. Rose, I've always loved the colors of fall so much - your photos show there's a lot to enjoy in your area - lucky you to have some really beautiful specimens on your property, esp Granddaddy!

  20. Tina, Looking forward to having those cosmic orange cosmos again next year! The butterflies loved them.

    Renee, I was surprised, too, at how much color there was this fall, considering the dry summer we had. I'm not ready for snow!

    Lisa, The temperatures have sure done some flip-flopping. Yesterday was so warm, but the wind about blew me away while I planted bulbs.

    Gail, Our maple is always a show-stopper in the fall; I love it!

    Sarah, I've been lucky most of our leaves have been blowing away--I may get out of raking this year.

    Maggie, I love the colors of fall; I wish my camera could do them justice.

    Wendy, Thanks; it's always good to be back home. I was surprised when I got home that the leaves on the burning bushes had pretty much blown off--glad I got to see them at their peak before they fell.

    Rose, Although all my trees are bare, there are still colorful trees around town hanging onto their leaves. I'm enjoying it as long as I can.

    Beth, I wish I could have really captured the color of the hydrangeas--the leaves were just glowing. I don't remember them ever looking this pretty in past years.

    Sissy, I can't take credit for the maple because we didn't plant it, but you're right, it's perfectly shaped. The way the Illini are playing right now, I don't think it's worth the drive down to see them:)

    Dave, Thanks so much for hosting this! I always look forward to participating.

  21. Rosey, It's been a weird year for weather--thankfully, we haven't had any snow yet. Sorry I can't access Dung Ho! I'll have to email you to see if I can view it.

    Joy, I thought the orange maple was just perfect for Halloween, too. Our weather has also been strange--I never know whether I'll need a winter coat for the day or a t-shirt:)

    Sweetbay, I'm praying those darn ash borers die out before they get here.

    Linda, Spring is still my favorite season of the year, but autumn is quickly becoming a close second.

    Priscilla, Thanks for stopping by! I love the colors of fall, too.

    Diaries, The maple really is a beauty each fall.

    Janet, I enjoy trying to capture the beauty of fall with my camera--and I'm often out taking photos in my pj's and ratty old robe, too:)

    Cyndy, The oak tree is my favorite; I once calculated its age, and I know it must be over 200 years old.

  22. A wonderful fall tour. We lost all our fall color and leaves with the freak snowstorm before Halloween, so I am enjoying what you show us here. It's my favorite season, and you have plenty of it!

  23. Dear Rose,
    So gorgeous!
    I too worry for the Ash Trees.
    You are right about how lovely Autumn is. I enjoy the colors and the temperatures.
    We have had Indian Summer with temp into the 70's!
    Your Maple is a show stopper!

  24. Wow, that burning bush is incredible! As is your lovely maple tree. I think I'm going to get one this coming weekend (and I hope I get to see it look as glorious as yours one day!).

  25. I enjoyed your lovely fall colors, from the trees and other garden plants. Even though we do not have any trees in our yard, there are lots in the neighborhood, and they did put on a nice show this year.

    I am enjoying my word verifications this evening. Earlier, I had, "squish" and now I have "gogbork". There should be a plant by that name. It's kind of cool.

  26. I love autumn too, not so much for fall color but because the weather is so perfect for gardening on my corner of Katy!


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