Tag Archives: autumn colour

Giving Thanks

October 9th, 2017 | 15 Comments »


Today is Thanksgiving day in Canada, and there is much to be thankful for. In the garden, colours are bright.


Sedum 'Autumn Joy' lives up to its name.
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ lives up to its name.


Even when the flowers have faded, I’m thankful for work that’s been done.  At the Aqueduct the catmint ( Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’) has been cut back, making the bed look more like a monk’s shaved head than the overgrown mop of foliage it was only days ago.


Those stubs of nepeta between the boxwood should grow exuberantly next summer.
Those stubs of nepeta between the boxwood should grow exuberantly next summer. I hope the iris I added will, too.


Also looking bare after its annual cut is the Big Meadow. With the hay bales still in place, it looks less like a lawn and more like the farm field it used to be.


The grass is baled like hay and moved to the bank of the lake where it stops children from going over the edge.
This year we baled four bales, three of which you can see here. This is one fewer bale than last year. I think a drier summer accounts for the change.


Thankfully uncut are the ornamental grasses by the Skating Pond. They are at their best in autumn, particularly on a breezy day.


Miscanthus sinensis is at its best in autumn, particularly on a breezy day.
You can see two ornamental grasses here, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ in the foreground and Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ in the shadows at the back.


Usually, fall colours hit their peak at Thanksgiving, but this year the colours are muted, less vibrant than normal. I think this is due to the hotter and dryer days we had throughout September  — many days felt like summer. These warm days have continued into October, making fall still seem a distant prospect.

Going through the woods with my granddaughter, fall was more evident. We spotted some bright colours, but they often appeared in isolated patches, surrounded by green.


White birch trunks are common in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.
White birch trees are common in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.


Poplar leaves glowed yellow or occasionally appeared a blanched out white.


I think these are yellow poplar leaves.
At first I was quite excited, thinking these were yellow or tulip poplar leaves (Liriodendron) that aren’t typically hardy in this part of Quebec. I knew I was wrong as soon as I check an identification chart.


Ferns were clear markers of the change of season. Many have turned from green to toasted gold…


Another typical fall scene in my woods.
A typical fall scene in my woods, with ferns, ash trees and young poplars making a come-back.


but others, like Christmas ferns (Polystichum) and maidenhair ferns (Adiantum pedatum) still wear their summer clothes.


Maidenhair ferns still retain their colouring.
My granddaughter can now identify maidenhair ferns by their black stems and tiara-like shape.


The woods at Glen Villa comprise different ecosystems. Some sections are full of tall straight trees with almost no undergrowth.


These trees near the edge of an old farm field are part of a major project I'm working on now.
These trees near the edge of an old farm field are part of a major project I’m working on now. I’ll write more on that when the project is a bit more advanced.


Others are deep and mysterious.


This forest of tall pines looks ghostly when photographed.
This forest of tall pines was planted about 25 years ago. It always looks ghostly when photographed. I hope someone can tell me why.


Some places in the woods hint at earlier times, when the land was cleared for farming.


An old rock pile near an even older stone wall suggests that this was once a farm field.
An old rock pile near an even older stone wall suggests that this was once a farm field.


In other places, the hints turn into shouts and the land tells its story loud and clear.


Once upon a time there was an apple orchard here.
Once upon a time there was an apple orchard here. The  low stone wall marked the boundary.


Garbage collection and municipal dumps are relatively new things in many rural areas, including this one. Before they existed, farmers used the woods.  This old dump close to a trail contained many things you might expect: tin cans, glass bottles, rusted metal and an old inner tube.


An old rubber boot has disintegrated almost entirely. I wonder how long it has taken?
I wonder how long it took for this rubber boot to disintegrate as much as it has. Years or decades?


It also contained some surprises.


This modern convenience isn't as convenient as it used to be.
Once upon a time someone gave thanks for this modern convenience. It isn’t as convenient as it used to be.


Even if they are less vibrant than usual, colours still abound in the woods, on branches and on the ground.


Fallen apples in the woods.
Fallen apples in the woods may not be the perfect specimens you buy in a grocery store but they still make very good apple crisp.


Without doubt, though, the most colourful part of Thanksgiving — and definitely the most delicious — was the turkey.


A 13 lb turkey will be plenty for 9 people, with left overs galore. Or so I hope!
A 13 lb. turkey was plenty for 9 people, with lots of left overs to share.


Happy Thanksgiving!


The Colours of Autumn

October 31st, 2016 | 12 Comments »
What an array of colours! The view looking out over the Big Meadow never fails to excite me.
I missed the peak of autumn colour this year in the Eastern Townships of Quebec -- where colours are as good as (or better than?) any place in North America -- because of some trips that took me away from home. So when a friend sent me a photo he took a week or so ago of the hills behind our house, I was delighted.   [caption id="attachment_4579" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Our house and boathouse on Lake Massawippi are dwarfed by the hills that rise behind.[/caption]   What a spectacle it was. Friends who were


Changing Colours

September 27th, 2016 | 10 Comments »
I don't know which of the asters this one is. But notice the different coloured centres.
This year autumn is slow in coming. Often by the end of September, the hills are as colourful as the big box of Crayola crayons I always begged (unsuccessfully) my mother to buy, with trees standing in ranges of red, orange and pink, gold and chartreuse, and occasional patches of dark wintery green. Not this year. Temperatures have remained high and leaves seem reluctant to lose their grip on summer. In the woods and fields around Glen Villa, though, wildflowers appropriate to the season are blooming their hearts out. Asters predominate.


Colour in the Garden

October 26th, 2014 | 4 Comments »
A stormy sky in the late afternoon adds drama to the scene.
It's been raining steadily for the last few days and most trees have lost their leaves. But not all. The linden tree  at the end of the lawn was radiant one day last week, just before the rain began to fall. [caption id="attachment_1318" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] A stormy sky added drama to the scene.[/caption] Colour remains, but you have to look more closely to find it. The hydrangea bushes by the front door don't shout like the linden tree; instead they glow, softly pink. [caption id="attachment_1323" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] The pink tones of


Glen Villa in Autumn

October 14th, 2013 | 6 Comments »
Travelling is wonderful, but nothing beats being at Glen Villa on a perfect autumn day, when the air is clear, the sky is blue and nothing in particular has to be done.This morning I walked around the garden, my first walk-about in three weeks. A few flowers are still blooming, like the never-say-die sedum 'Autumn Joy.'Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is still going strong in mid-October.The bergenia I planted this spring to complement the aqueduct is showing its full fall colour.Which name do you prefer, bergenia or pigsqueak?The peegee hydrangea that was