Saturday, October 20, 2012

Autumn Color - Even in Kansas!

I've been away.  First a drive down to the panhandle of Florida to deliver Dahlia to our daughter, then a 10 day trip to Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  It's been enjoyable to get away and see how fall is treating some other areas of the country, but the timing also means that I've missed several weeks out of one of my favorite seasons here at home.

After seeing hillside after hillside after mountainside of beautiful fall foliage in New England, I was feeling a little down-in-the-mouth about coming home to autumn in south central Kansas.  However, to my delight, there was some beautiful foliage color here for me to see, too.


I missed whatever show the remnants of our Amur maples put on this fall, after the heat and drought of the second summer in a row.   At least two-thirds of them have died, which will definitely change the feel of our backyard next summer.  I'm not feeling too panicky about their loss, though - they had been planted much too close together and their roots sapped the vigor of anything I tried to grow underneath them.

However, I barely noticed the absence of the Amurs because the green ash next to the deck had turned the most stunning golden yellow that I've seen since living here!
 

A few of the redcedars had put on a spectacular berry... whoops!... cone crop this year.  Against a blue autumn sky, these are particularly stunning!


Even some of the giant ragweed plants decided that this was a fall to celebrate, and they donned a deep maroon to join in the seasonal spirit.  (Note that the male flowers along the spikes have dried and mostly fallen off, leaving the remnants of the female flowers at the base of the spike, with their nutritious seeds waiting to feed the incoming winter birds.)


Although I can't say that pokeberry is going to turn many heads, it's still providing a pop of bright magenta color as its foliage drops off and reveals the strong stems holding the remains of the fruit clusters up high.


And, of course, there's always poison ivy - one of our most reliable fall colorers here in Kansas.  As I looked over the trees in the draw on my first walk after getting home from New England, it was immediately obvious where there were still healthy poison ivy plants.  After years of Greg spraying carefully to set back the large, poison ivy shrub colonies that came with the property, it's mainly the vines that are left now, climbing high into the canopy.
 







Do be careful if you go out gathering leaves with the kids!


7 comments:

jason said...

Your green ash is indeed spectacular. And I've never seen such so many berries (berries, dammit!) on a red cedar.

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

My goodness you did put on the miles. Nice to see all those beautiful colors back east but we are getting a decent show here this year too. A nice surprise. Enjoy!

greggo said...

I've noticed the green ash this year also. Almost as yellow as A Ginko.

Gaia Gardener: said...

Jason, I agree. Techinically they are supposedly cones but, gosh darn it!, they look like berries to me!

Gaia Gardener: said...

GonSS, I will admit to "cheating" a bit and flying out and back to New England! Otherwise, it was indeed a lot of miles....

Gaia Gardener: said...

Greg, they've been gorgeous all over the region, haven't they?

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Lots of great fall color in your garden. Know you are glad to be home after all that ground you covered. wow!