Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall Color Project: Memories of Autumn

Like so many people, I have been watching the news footage the past week of the horrible destruction caused by storm Sandy.  My heart goes out to all of those who suffered loss in this devastating storm, and I am counting my blessings.

Here in my part of Illinois, the only effects of the storm were strong winds that blew most of the remaining leaves off the trees.  Now only bare branches remain, whereas just a week before we were enjoying the last of the fall color.  Some years I have photographed some of the colorful trees around town or taken Sophie to the nearby forest preserve to enjoy a different fall perspective, but this year I had time only to document changes at home.  Still, there was enough vibrant color in my own front yard to enjoy.

The most brilliant display in fall is the maple tree that slowly puts on its autumn finery.  In early October a few leaves at the top began to turn, and by mid-October the progression of orange and red was working its way downward.

The golden leaves of the locust trees gleamed in the sunlight.

The best part about these leaves is that they are easily carried away by the wind, 
and I don't have to rake them.

After the summer's drought, I think most of us didn't expect much of a colorful display this fall.  But we were pleasantly surprised.  Even the crabapples this year were eye-catching.

Instead of the usual shriveled brown leaves, they sported leaves of gold.

One effect of the drought has been the sparse number of fruit on these trees.  The white crabapple, in particular, is usually covered with miniature fruit, but not this year.  I noticed yesterday that the few remaining tiny apples had already been devoured by the birds.

The old Hackberry is not an especially attractive tree, but it, too, added some color to the landscape.

Besides the maple tree, the most eye-catching color has to be the large burning bushes 
at the end of my driveway.

Usually these bright red leaves remain until mid to late November, but this year the winds have stripped them quickly, leaving only the small berries on otherwise bare branches.

When I think of fall color, I think of trees.  But the garden has its own share of color transformation.  The faded blooms of hydrangeas are complemented by rosy-edged foliage as well.

Some of the ferns turned a ghostly white, just in time for Halloween.

Solomon's Seal, aging gracefully.

Oak leaves are not particularly colorful as they change from green to gold to brown.

But for me, it is not the leaves so much as the majestic stature of this old tree that I enjoy in the fall and every other season of the year.

By the end of last week, the maple had completed its transformation, shining for a few days in its final blaze of glory before this week's winds stripped its branches bare.  With the chilly winds blowing again, autumn seems like a fading memory.  I hope that you are enjoying the last beauties of autumn wherever you are.

Thanks to Dave at Growing the Home Garden for sponsoring the Fall Color Project  once again this year.


  1. That big maple is just a round ball of color! I love the way it creeps down the sphere, coloring as it goes. And I do love the locusts, but around here they are they first to drop, way too early.

    I'm so glad the drought did not destroy your beautiful fall.

  2. Your colours are beautiful Rose, thanks for sharing :)

  3. Your maple has both a wonderful shape and great colour. It looks good as a specimen on the lawn, so you can see its outline. The row of burning bushes is ablaze with colour. They pop right out of the photo against the background of the green lawn.

  4. My goodness you do (did) have some beautiful color in your garden. Our garden looks pretty beat up now. Just a few yellow leaves of the maple, locust hanging on. Lots of berries on shrubs and trees though. Our wintering mockingbird is tired of trying to keep away all the robins. ha... Have a great weekend.

  5. Absolutely gorgeous! I can almost feel the sunshine in those earlier images. I love it when maples turn all at once. This year ours went gradually top to bottom losing leaves. Thanks for sharing yours.

  6. That oak is so impressive, what a lovely tree to have on your property. Our colour show is pretty much done now as most of the leaves have fallen.

  7. You have some amazing trees on your property, Rose! That Maple is a classic specimen! We have one big Maple--which I love--in our front yard, but its foliage actually isn't as interesting as our Oaks, which seem to catch the light at just the right angles and resemble stained glass. I'm with you on the Locust trees--they're pretty, the leaves don't have to be raked, and they have a lot of personality. Beautiful images, Rose!

  8. The maple and the beautiful oak? are my favorites and oh so stunning! Though your hydrangeas sure do look lovely in your garden.

  9. That is one beautiful maple tree! Great shape and color. The leaf edges of the hydrangeas are pretty cool too with the red tint highlights. Most of our hydrangeas have lost their leaves due to a hard frost last week. Thanks for joining in the Fall Color Project!

  10. Laurrie, I wish I knew what kind of maple this is, but I do love it in the fall.

    Suburbia, Unfortunately, it's pretty drab around here now--I wish I could hold on to those maple leaves much longer.

    Northern, My husband and I keep talking about adding a few more trees, but I know we don't want to block the view of this maple either from our window or from the road.

    Lisa, The winds earlier this week pretty much took care of all the leaves on the trees. I wish the wind had blown all of them from the lawn, though:) The birds have been very busy here, too; I'm not sure there are many berries left anywhere.

    Sarah, What I like most about this maple is how the leaves change slowly; each week in October the tree looks a little different.

    Marguerite, I once used a formula to calculate how old this oak was--I don't know if I followed all the instructions carefully, but I'm pretty sure it's over 200 years old. It has survived a lot of storms.

    Plant Postings, My husband always wishes the maple had been limbed up when it was younger. But I won't let him touch it now!

    Tina, I love the way hydrangeas age so gracefully.

    Dave, We've had lost of frost, too, so I'm not sure how much longer any foliage will remain in the garden. Thanks for hosting this--I've enjoyed looking back to compare the color from one fall to the next.

  11. Hi Rose! Beautiful colors! I used to see a lot of yellow and brown fall trees when I was a child. Red was rare, and I loved red colored trees especially. Now, when there are so many red, orange and yellow maples around, I learn to appreciate brown tones! You reminded me about Fall Color Project! I need to join it. Thank you, Rose!

  12. An absolutely lovely blog. I am glad I happened upon it. Very enjoyable read and wonderful photos.

  13. Hi, Rose! I love the dark red colors of the bushes on your drive way!
    Nice pictures.

  14. The colour's just about hanging on here, Rose. We had snow here yesterday - the earliest it's been for decades. It was strange to photograph it with the leaves still on the trees!

  15. Splendid photos Rose, especially the last one, what a great tree. Is the locust tree a Honey Locust or a Black Locust? I am going to do a posting on Black Locust eventually....having a time with the two-- which is which?
    Love seeing your Hackberry too. :-)
    Super post, great fall colors.

  16. Since we have moved to the mountains, we see less of these spectacular specimens such as large maples. We have a few Aspens to behold in the fall though.
    I love your post about the fall. Great shots!
    Enjoy your candy. :)

  17. I remember your gorgeous maple! And love to see pics of it - the shape and colour are so beautiful. Your oak reminds me of the oak trees on my property. I miss my old home, even though the upkeep was overwhelming. But change is a way of life. We can't go back.

    I love how you've captured the hydrangea -the brilliant red seeping into the green leaves.

    It's chilly here too and seems like fall has gone. Hopefully we'll have some more warm days, though.

  18. Tatyana, I agree--I enjoy a variety of colors in the landscape, though I must admit I envy those who have red foliage--that's something I don't have, other than the burning bushes. Thanks for stopping by!

    Atlas, Thanks for dropping by!

    Nadezda, Not everyone likes burning bushes, and I've just discovered this year that they leave lots of unwanted seedlings. But they are indeed gorgeous in the fall.

    VP, Snow already?! Goodness, what is going on with the weather this year. I'm certainly not ready for that.

    Janet, I wish I knew which locust this is--I kept calling it a honey locust, but I'm not so sure. It doesn't have the long seedpods, or not many of them that I so often see on locusts. I'll have to investigate it more. Wish I'd had taken a picture of the hackberry earlier when the leaves were a little more abundant.

    Rosey, I'm sure your aspens are beautiful, though. The second set of grandkids dropped by yesterday, and I tried to load them up with the leftover Halloween candy, but the boys don't like chocolate. Don't like chocolate?? They can't be related to me:)

    Wendy, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and remembered my maple from years past. You're so right about change--there's a lot of upkeep here, and I wonder what will happen in the future when we can't keep up with all of it. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it and enjoy everything here while I can. Always good to hear from you!

  19. That really is the most beautiful Maple, Rose! What a lovely show it is putting on for you this year. I would love to have enough space to grow so many trees and what an attraction they must be to the birds.

    I am so glad you were not affected by the dreadful storm. I had worked out from the television news that you shouldn't be. My thoughts are still with all those who suffered. Our news had extensive coverage and it really was appalling to see so much devastation.

  20. I somehow missed seeing my crabapple change colors. It usually is pretty for just a few days, then all the leaves drop. This year, those pretty days must have been when I was out west in Tucson. I love good fall leaf color. Can I have your maple tree?

  21. Spectacular color Rose....I love how the perennials get in on the color action! How was the acorn production on your oaks this year? Ours are having a mast year and stepping on them is treacherous.

  22. Loving the Reds and Oranges of Fall, I am in awe of your Maple and Burning Bushes! Our Crab apple tree is glowing this year as well. We had more fruit on it then ever before. But it is a young tree and squirrels usually strip the blossoms in spring. Little toots! We had horrible winds for the entire week of Sandy but nothing as what the poor folks on the upper east coast had to deal with. So sorry for all the distruction for all involved.... Sigh...

  23. Wow! that maple is stunning. You manage to make ordinary plants - that I don't give a second glance to - appear beautiful!

  24. Loved how you opened and closed with a type of time-lapse kind of thing. You know it's been one tough year when the birds are already eating those bitter, bitter crabapples before the end of the year.They must be pretty hungry???

  25. Loved how you opened and closed with a type of time-lapse kind of thing. You know it's been one tough year when the birds are already eating those bitter, bitter crabapples before the end of the year.They must be pretty hungry???


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