Saturday, November 1, 2014

Farewell, October

Every year at this time I think of one of my favorite poems:
Nature’s first green is gold,  
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Robert Frost

Although it's true that "Nothing gold can stay," it certainly is beautiful while it lasts.  The month of October started out gloomy and rainy, but the last few weeks of the month made up for it with warm, sunny days that highlighted the colors of autumn.  Above, the old hackberry tree at the end of my yard doesn't look like much the rest of the year, but its golden leaves shine in the fall, especially backed by the orangey-gold maples of my neighbors.

The old oak tree's leaves gradually turn brown, but its grand stature makes up for any lack of color.

Warm autumn days are meant to be enjoyed, and so we found ourselves one sunny afternoon visiting the local forest preserve with youngest grandson and Sophie in tow.

A rare moment of stillness for Sophie, who preferred to pull me along while she tracked squirrel and other strange scents.  Taking photos with my phone while she tugged at the leash wasn't easy.

Meanwhile, Grandpa and Grandson looked for fish.

Except for this lone canoeist, we seemed to have the park to ourselves.

Driving through town the last few weeks, I often wished I had brought my camera.  Our small town really is a blaze of oranges, golds and reds this time of year.

The not-so-pretty side, though, is also revealed in fall.

Trees aren't the only plants providing splashes of color this fall.  Here, Japanese Blood Grass provides a vivid shade of red at the Nursing Home Garden where I volunteer.

Next to the Blood Grass, a variety of Muhly Grass hardy in our zone 5B adds some airy color.

Back at home, I am greeted by the brightest red of all as I drive into our lane, provided by three large burning bushes.

Viburnum 'Cardinal Candy' still hasn't provided any "candy" for the birds, but its leaves are beginning to make an impact.

The small Serviceberry shows promises of beautiful autumns to come.

'Little Henry' Itea has started its fall transformation.

There are still some colorful blooms as well--the 'Radsunny' Knockout rose appreciates the cooler temperatures.

A not-so-welcome plant even gets in on the color act (poison ivy!).

My favorite tree each fall has to be the maple in the center of our yard.  Like Cinderella donning her ballgown, it begins its transformation at the top, slowing adding color downward each day.  This was taken on October 14.

By October 23, leaves at the top had turned a blazing orange.

Full view, Oct. 23.

A week later, the change is complete.  Today, most of the leaves are still clinging to the branches, but strong winds yesterday blew off a few,  and conveniently for me, blew away almost all the leaves on the ground!

"So dawn goes down to day..." Thursday's dawn brought the first killing frost of the season.

Though the frost brought an end to all but a few hardy annuals, I will not "sink to grief"--this was one of the latest frosts in my memory.  

And despite the poem's theme, there is still some gold in my garden--Amsonia Hubrichtii is one of the prettiest perennials for fall.   

Farewell, October--you were beautiful!


  1. Wow--what an amazing combination in that last photo--the Amsonia with the Beautyberry! How wonderful to have such bright foliage so late into fall. Most of our trees have lost all their leaves now. A few lovely Oaks still, but we're on the other side of fall. Your Zinnias with frost are hauntingly beautiful, Rose! And that park and the photos there are so touching and lovely. Happy November!

  2. There is so much I love about this post Rose.
    Too much to put in one comment.
    The poem is beautiful....

    I love the old oak, such a majestic old tree.
    Grandpa and Grandson ...... lovely composition Rose.
    Frosted flowers........etc etc

    A truly tranquil October post.

  3. Rose girl your trees are magnificent !
    The colours are so vivid .. we have had a crappy October .. too much rain and wind knocked down those potential jeweled leaves sadly.
    That amsonia is gorgeous .. I don't have one so you encouraged me with that picture to think about it.. plant show horn will have to be used of course.
    My Japanese maples have helped brighten this past month .. Crimson Queen turned the same scarlet red as Inaba Shidare so they look like twins now : )
    Snow in South Carolina ? funny my DIL hasn't written about it .. son will feel more at home with that! LOL
    Joy : )
    Love the little one with his grandpa picture !

  4. The poem that runs through my brain much of October is "Spring and Fall" by Gerard Manley Hopkins: "Margaret, are you grieving over Goldengrove unleaving. . ." Not much reason for grieving this year, as you noted, with one of the latest frosts I can remember (a day later for us here than for you, on Halloween morning.)

    You do have a lot of beautiful fall color, Rose--that Amsonia is just gorgeous! ANd I love the pictures of the frost on the zinnias! Wishing you a happy November--Kimberley

  5. You have some beautiful pictures here Rose. Love seeing your frosted zinnias.That poor maple tree being sliced in half by trimming around the utility lines. That looks really odd. Amazing what a tree can endure and survive. Happy November.

  6. The color on that Amsonia hubrichtii is outstanding. Makes my A. tabernaemontana quite pale in comparison. So much beautiful color in your post. Here the leaves are mostly fallen from the trees as of today.

  7. Beth, I saw your comment on someone else's post or maybe on Facebook about wanting some Amsonia Hubrichtii. I have been so happy with this plant--I highly recommend it! As for the Forest Preserve, I have promised Sophie for months we would go, but kept putting it off. We were babysitting Grandson and he needed to run off some energy, so it finally got me motivated:) Plus, it was such a gorgeous day that day.

    Cheryl, We are watching youngest grandson one day a week--I'm worn out by the end of the day, but we so enjoy it. The more I look at this photo of him with my husband, the more I love it, too. I'm so glad I got the photo of the frosted flowers--they turned to mush the next day:)

  8. Beautiful autumn color! Your garden looks huge with so many great old specimen trees. We won't get a killing frost for a while yet but the nights are getting colder and I miss summer already!

  9. You can't beat those beautiful red and orange colours.
    You have done October great justice!
    Lovely photos.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

  10. Gorgeous photos, I love your maple, what an extraordinary show it puts on for you. Wow.

  11. Oh, those burning bushes are so pretty at this time of year, I wish I had room for one in my garden! Thanks for letting me tag along on your trip, lovely autumn colours and beautiful photos – and I loved your frosty pictures!

  12. What wonderful fall color! There isn't much variety of color here in my town. Lots of yellows and browns, only a few reds.

  13. What wonderful photos of the glorious fall colors you have there! That Amsonia is gorgeous too! I will be on the lookout for that one now.

  14. Joy, Pretty much everything here is planted with a shoehorn these days:) The fall color here this year has been outstanding--I don't know if it was all the rain we had earlier this summer or not, but it's been the best show in several years.

    Kimberley, It's always sad when the first frost hits, but this year I've actually been waiting for it so I could pull some annuals to make room for bulbs. Will have to look up that Hopkins poem!

    Lisa, I've noticed this butchered tree before, but this year with its vibrant color it really stands out. I'm amazed it's still standing.

    Jason, My Amsonia T. has turned a pretty yellow, too, but the Hubrichtii has the most glorious color. I think this is the best it's ever looked, and I'm loving it.

  15. Your maple tree is magnificent! The Amsonia too, so bright!

  16. Peter, We have only a couple old trees left. At one time there was a huge old hackberry in the middle of the front yard, but it was felled by lightning many years ago. I thank my in-laws for planting all the rest of the trees when they did. We're in for a real taste of winter next week!

    Maggie, It has been such a beautiful October!

    Janet, I wish I knew what kind of maple it was, but probably an older cultivar--definitely my favorite this time of year.

    Helene, The burning bushes are gorgeous this time of year, but they also re-seed, and I have lots of little seedlings to pull--not so happy about that.

    Von, One of the things I like about my little town is all the lovely trees. In spring, too, it's so nice to see all that green along the streets.

    Kit, Thanks for visiting--yes, this Amsonia is a real winner.

    Sweetbay, The maple tree still has some leaves a week later. I'm hoping the wind blows the rest of them away, because I don't want to rake when it's 30 degrees outside:)

  17. Really wonderful photos of fall, Rose. The one trimmed for the power lines always makes me sad for the tree.

  18. Oh Rose if only that gold could stay or just tarry a while longer, although I think that you are fortunate to permanently retain some of that fabulous colour with Sophie's coat. Your maple is stunning.


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