Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Colors of Autumn

The "S" word is in the forecast for this week.  It's far too early for wintry landscapes, in my opinion; I want to enjoy the remaining colors of autumn for as long as possible.  Predictions of snow and temperatures in the teens always remind me of Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay."  We've had a beautiful fall, and although the colors have not been as dramatic as some years, there has been no shortage of golden hues.

The locust tree in the front yard is nothing spectacular during the summer, but in the fall it glows.

Is there anything better than gold sparking against a blue, blue sky?

Amsonia Hubrichtii proves why it's more than just a pretty spring face.  We have a very large specimen of this in the section of the Idea Garden where I volunteer, and I noticed this year how many visitors were drawn to this plant and asked about it.  In the late fall everything in the garden is cut down for the winter, even the amsonia.  I understand those in charge want a public garden to look tidy over the winter, but it makes me sad that they are missing out on a beautiful late-season show of color.  I'm almost glad I didn't have time to help on "Putting the Garden to Bed" day--I wouldn't have had the heart to take the pruners to this lovely.

For the last month, I've enjoyed the spectacle of autumn at its finest around town and while driving to meetings and appointments or running countless errands, but never the time to stop and capture the scenes, even if I had a camera handy, which I didn't. But it doesn't matter--I'm not a great landscape photographer, anyway, and there are small scenes of beauty to be found even in my own back yard, like the foliage and fluffy seedheads of the asters.

Or the glowing foliage of the spirea.

Even the hostas go out in a blaze of gold.

Gold is definitely the predominant color of fall in my area, surrounded as we are by fields of ripe corn. For a time, spots of green (or red, depending on the farmers' preferred brand of machinery) were also seen throughout the fields.

The harvest was completed a few weeks ago, but not before a little boy had the ride of his life.  I posted this photo on my Facebook page, but thought it was worth posting here, too.  My youngest grandson, now 2, is obsessed with combines, and so Grandpa made arrangements for him to get a ride on a real combine and see the harvest up close as they made two rounds through the fields.  It is all Grandson has talked about ever since--his favorite fall color is definitely green!

Gold is not the only color of autumn, of course.  This time of year I wish I had a red maple, but the burning bushes at the end of our drive provide a dramatic dose of red.

The white crabapple changes its hue, too. 

Unlike last year, when fruit was sparse due to the drought, the tree is loaded with tiny red crabapples this year.

The birds are happy about this, too, and have made this their favorite tree of the season.

The old apple tree was also covered in apples this fall, and I spent a good deal of time preparing sliced apples and making applesauce for the freezer.  There were so many that I didn't get them all picked, though, before Husband gave the lawn a last mowing before winter. I guess this is applesauce for the birds:)

There are some non-traditional fall colors in the garden, too, if you look closely enough.  The purple berries on the beautyberry bush are another winter treat for the birds, but I hope they let me enjoy them first for awhile.

More purplish-pink in the late blooms of a potted mum.

Less dramatic, but pleasing all the same--the muted pink undertones of the fading 'Limelight' hydrangea.

The fall color show begins in my front yard each year with the ash tree and its purple and copper-colored leaves.

And it climaxes with the turning of the large maple which shines even on a cloudy day.

Autumn's winds are stripping it a little more each day, leaving only remnants of the colorful show--and one more fall project to do before winter sets in.

"Then leaf subsides to leaf 
 . . . Nothing gold can stay."

I hope you are enjoying the colors of Autumn wherever you are!


  1. You have plenty of golds and reds in your garden this time of year. All of your big trees really set the stage for autumn. That sweet little Grand looks very serious about his job.

  2. Nice colorful fall, Rose! I love your second photo and another of the big reg shining maple. The chrysanthemums are lovely as always in fall. Have a nice week!

  3. I love the colors of autumn, and your photos capture them beautifully. We have some color --two maples (purchased as Sugar maples, but have turned out to be Norway) that had really beautiful yellow color this fall, and the blueberry bushes are red. I've been meaning to plant a burning bush for years now, and somehow never remember until fall :-)

  4. Just BEAUTIFUL pictures. The picture of your grandson reminds me so much of our older son when he was little. Danny was obsessed with heavy machinery. One day we visited the fire station near our home and the firefighters let him sit in the big truck. He wailed like a banshee when we finally removed him. He was also very partial to trains (which he called "frains"), bulldozers ("dullnozers"), and, of course, tractors. When we went on apple picking expeditions there were often tractors to sit on which was his favorite part of the trip.

    Love the Amsonia hubrichtii. I have A. tabernaemontana which is fairly disappointing in the fall foliage department.

  5. Sherlock Street, It's not as colorful as some years, but still a lovely autumn!

    Lisa, I missed getting a photo of the old oak tree this year--not so colorful, but still my favorite tree.
    Grandson was mesmerized:)

    Nadezda, I could look at the colorful leaves against a blue sky all day! The big maple has been a beauty every fall.

    Cassi, I would love to have some blueberry bushes which have been on my want-to-plant list for several years. Not only do I like blueberries, but they are indeed beautiful in the fall. I like burning bushes, but I've discovered they can produce tons of seedlings:(

    Jason, The stories of your son are so cute; what is it about little boys and machinery? My grandson loved tractors, and then this fall the combines became his favorite. My husband had such a good time taking him. I have Amsonia t., too, which I love, but you're right--the fall foliage isn't as striking as Amsonia hubrichtii.

  6. I envy you that white ash -- such a beautiful tree! One of the best for fall color, with that unique combination of gold and orange and purple.

    The locust trees are so vivid too -- in our climate locust trees usually lose their leaves in the July heat!

  7. Nothing gold can stay--that is such a perfect description for the gold of autumn! Burning Bushes are amazing, aren't they? I'm almost embarrassed to post about mine, because they are invasive. But nothing is more stunning than a Burning Bush at the peak of color in autumn--especially against blue sky! Beautiful images, Rose!

  8. Rose girl this was a wonderful post!!
    First your grandson is such a cutie! and no wonder he is fascinated with combines and seeing how they work. That was a perfect gift to give him riding in such a big machine like that.
    You have such a pretty property.
    So many beautiful trees (I am such a tree hugger, haha) .. I understand how you feel about how cutting everything back seems a shame and not wanting to .. that amsonia is gorgeous. I have to think about getting one now!
    I love your leaves .. we have a terrible annoyance here called "black tar spot" which literally has black spots like measles on all the maple leaves .. it ruins how pretty they could be. Doesn't harm the trees, but it looks terrible in the Autumn when you are looking for those stunning colours.
    I wanted to thank you for your kind words on my last post. I appreciate it so much : ) You are such a thoughtful person !
    Joy : )

  9. Rose, your garden's autumn colors that you capture so well are nature's fine art, a drama for the senses. Everybody gets into the act, including the cardinal.

  10. Wonderful post and beautiful colors of autumn :)

  11. That poem gets me every time Rose...

    Those are fantastic photo's, wonderful colours and so very clear.

  12. Perfect child, perfect tree, perfectly lovely day and photos.

  13. Aw, your grandson must have had a ball! What a good grandpa!
    I am definitely enjoying the fall leaves this year, now that we are in New England. They are stunning. We've planted several little trees that have pretty fall color - I can't wait until they are bigger!

  14. I love all your images of Fall and was so happy to read your first paragraph. So many bloggers rush this and next season, as so do most folks. I question this because the season has so much to offer, if people just slow down enough to appreciate it. I love the image of the tractors in the field. And the cardinal surrounded by berries. What great tributes to this wonderful time of year.

  15. You have make beautiful Autumn photos!
    Greetings, RW & SK

  16. So many lovely autumn photos! Loved the burning bush, I wish I had space for one in my garden, and I love beautyberries too, but I think you need at least two of them, maybe three to get a good amount of berries so, definitely not for my garden! I can only drool over your photos...
    Your grandson looks so proud on that photo :-)

  17. Frost is my favorite poet and I was thinking of that very poem before you mentioned it. Your photos capture the colors so well. Every year I look forward to your golden maple too. Happy fall! We haven't gotten snow yet but it barely broke freezing today. Brrrr!

  18. Hi Rose, I love all the color you have going on! Your photos are awesome, so I will disagree with your assessment of your skills.

    I had a couple people think I should cut down all of the plants in the bed between the parking lot and the sidewalk at church, but I am not going to do that, because it would look terrible. They are not gardeners, so they don't know better.

    Thanks for your comment on my last post. I'm not remembering how late the reblooming irises usually bloom again, and it seems like some of them don't always bloom again, but this year, all of the rebloomers did quite well in the fall.

  19. Sweetbay, With all the concern in our area about the emerald ash borer, I'm happy that this ash is so healthy. It's a surprising beauty in the fall.

    Plantpostings, Burning bushes don't look like anything special until fall, and then they command attention like nothing else. I remembered being surprised a few years to learn that they were invasive. Then I noticed all these little seedlings growing underneath mine--not sure I'll ever get them all pulled out:)

    Joy, Thanks for all those kind words; I do appreciate it! Amsonia hubrichtii is a plant I'd highly recommend. If it's like Amsonia t., though, make sure you plant it exactly where you want it, because it's a bear to move:)

    Lee, You have such a way with words--even your comments are poetic!

  20. Ela, Thank you, and thanks for visiting!

    Suburbia, Robert Frost is my favorite poet. Your photos are so good, too; did you get a new camera?

    Layanee, Thanks; we've had some perfect fall days. Now it's turned to winter--brrr!

    Indie, Grandson was so excited about his combine ride. You are in the perfect place for fall color!

  21. What a delightful glowing post. We don't have such bright colours in our native plants here, although you can get stunning yellows and gorgeous browns. The reds, though, are always imports. Still this is one of the prettiest times of autumn for me, as things seem all green and gold

  22. Wow! Spectacular fall color up in your neck of the woods. I love those apples! Yum on homemade applesauce!

  23. Lovely, beautiful fall photos! Ours is so done!

  24. We don't get much fall color here in Southeast Texas near the coast, so it's nice to be able to share yours. Lovely!

    And what a sweet little boy helping to drive that combine!

  25. I can remember more colourfull autumns overhere as it is now. Strange enough the tree's do have so many leaves. I love your photographs Rose. You can be proud having a grandson like this Rose.
    Have a wonderful week ahead.

  26. We missed seeing the colorful show by about 10 days, having to return home from IL a little earlier than planned. Oh well, at least I get to see it through your eyes. Your grandson is a real sweetie. I'll bet a toy combine is on someone's Christmas wish list. I hope you all are doing okay after that blast of wind this weekend.

  27. Rose, What a lovely autumnal post.
    Having had the honour of visiting your garden, I could see the whole scene set before me.
    I do not cut any of my plants down until late February.....the seedheads are food for birds and the insects can hide amongst the foliage. I love the plants when they are frosted, so pretty.
    Sadly we all put too much importance on appearance, everything has to be neat and tidy. I learnt gay abandon in the garden from my father and I am so very grateful to him.

    I love the image of Mr P with youngest Grandchild. Wonderful to hear that he may follow in Grandpa's footsteps.

    Enjoy your day........

  28. Donna, I've come to love fall. The only problem with my two favorite seasons, spring and fall is that they're much too short here!

    Our photos, Thank you!

    Helene, the burning bushes look beautiful for awhile in the fall. But the winds have already stripped their leaves, so they're not so dramatic now.

    Sarah, Back to cold here, too! Frost has been my favorite poet since a favorite teacher introduced me to him back in junior high.

    Sue, I used to leave plants stand during the winter because I never seemed to have time to get them all cut down. But now I've come to appreciate their beauty in the winter, not to mention the benefit to wildlife.

    Jenny, There's a quote I can't remember about nature saving its best colors for the end of the season--so true!

    Tina, I'm not sure what kind of apples we have; they're not great to eat from the tree, but they do make delicious applesauce.

    Jennifer, The past week has brought a big change here, too--no more pretty leaves!

    Dorothy, Grandson can't stopping talking about the combine:)

    Marijke, The past week has brought about a big change here with all the leaves blowing off. Winter is definitely on its way.

    W2W, Timing is everything, isn't it? Actually, Grandson got a toy combine for his birthday, thanks to Grandpa:) Yes, we are safe and sound, but nearby towns didn't fare as well this weekend. It was a scary Sunday.

    Cheryl, I have learned to appreciate the dried seedheads and foliage in winter, too. Luckily, living in the country I don't have neighbors complaining about how my garden looks, but I think in some suburban areas that is not the case. Right now I think Grandson would love to be a farmer!


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