Tag Archives: linden

Changing Colours

September 27th, 2016 | 10 Comments »

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. Most are purple, some are white — and often  they grow one beside another.

 

I'm sure that some people can differentiate one aster from another. I can't.
I’m sure that some people can tell one aster from another. I can’t. The white one may be Flat-topped white aster, Doellingeria umbellata.

 

A close-up view shows that the centres of the purple asters are either bright yellow or deep rusty red. I learned the reason only recently — the colour changes once the flower has been pollinated.

 

I don't know which of the asters this one is. But notice the different coloured centres.
I don’t know which of the asters this one is. But notice the different coloured centres.

 

Colour changes in the woods are often more subtle than the obvious difference between the yellow and rusty red centres, but even subtle changes signal unmistakably that autumn is on its way.

 

A few weeks ago these ferns were clear bright green.
A few weeks ago these ferns were clear bright green, almost emerald. How would you describe the shade of green they are now?

 

There’s nothing subtle about autumn berries — their cheery red faces pop out among the leaf litter.

 

I think these berries are the fruit of Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Please tell me if I'm wrong.
I think these berries are the fruit of Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Please tell me if I’m wrong.

 

In the garden proper, the approaching season is marked by colour changes in the Miscanthus sinensis ‘Malepartus’ that grows beside the Skating Pond. Its tall pink-tinged flower plumes are gradually turning silver as nights get cooler, moving through shades of red, orange and bronze along the way.

 

These clumps of Miscanthus are a joy in to see in autumn. The reddish tones are particularly attractive.
This plant is a vigorous grower and needs lots of space. It prefers full sun and a moist but well-drained soil. The plumes rise to 7 feet or more and sway gracefully in even the lightest breeze.

 

Also at the Skating Pond, the Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ that started as a soft feathery green is now the colour of wheat. It stands straight and tall, and will remain that way throughout the winter.

 

calamagrostis-1-of-1
In front of the Calamagrostis is some Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’). I like the red tips on the grass. I only wish it would look this good earlier in the season.

 

Nearer the house, a dwarf horse chestnut tree is showing splotches of orange and peach. This tree is one of the first to colour up in the fall, and usually the very first to lose its leaves. In a normal year the branches are almost bare by the end of September but this year, all the leaves remain.

 

This tree is one of the first to change colour in the fall. Usually by the end of September it is losing its leaves. Not so this year.
I think this horse chestnut is Aesculus flava. The blossoms in spring are pale in colour but I wouldn’t describe them as yellow, as the blooms of A. flava are meant to be.

 

These colour changes tell a clear story —  even if autumn arrives a little later this year than usual, it will soon be here. That means that I will soon witness one of my favourite transformations, as the linden tree at the end of the Big Meadow moves from fresh green to buttery yellow. The first sign of what is to come appeared this week — a single pat of butter on the still vivid green.

 

linden-1-of-1
I took this photo last week, on September 24. The stakes show where I seeded wildflowers.

 

Gradually, the green loses its clarity, becoming more and more autumnal.

 

This photo is dated Oct. 20, 2007. So maybe autumn isn't late this year after all.
This photo is dated Oct. 20, 2007. Am I the only one who finds the colour here sad, as if it is tinged with regret?

 

Eventually the mix of colours disappears and the leaves become a single tone, a burst of sunshine that lights up my heart.

 

This photo is from Nov 6, 2005. So maybe autumn isn't late this year.
The colour didn’t shine to the max on the day I took this photo. I chose it, though, because of the date when I took it:  Nov 6, 2005. So maybe autumn isn’t late this year after all.

 

Finally, of course, the tree becomes a skeleton of itself. But that skeleton holds its own appeal and its own promise, of another year to come.

Do you have a favourite sign of autumn?  What is it?

Following My Tree: November

November 9th, 2015 | 24 Comments »
I haven't followed my tree, a linden or basswood (Tilia americana), since August. The reason is simple -- in September and October I was travelling during the time when the Tree Following meme (originally hosted by Lucy Corrander of Loose and Leafy and as of this month hosted by Squirrelbasket) was open. But I'm at Glen Villa today, so a post about my tree's progress since August seems only right. Photos are the clearest way to chronicle the changes, from the green of late August to the green touched with yellow of mid September.   [caption id="attachment_3006"

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Following my Tree: June

June 14th, 2015 | 5 Comments »
Sometimes trees are part of a forest, sometimes they stand alone. As a child, the lone tree at the top of the field by my grandparents' house in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia was a beacon, calling me out of the fenced farmyard and into adventure. The fact that it was a forbidden destination only made the tree more appealing. [caption id="attachment_2311" align="aligncenter" width="1201"] I took this photo of the old poplar tree -- probably a liriodendron, or tulip poplar -- about a dozen years ago, looking down from the

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Following My Tree: April

April 12th, 2015 | 11 Comments »
Finally, the snow is melting and the ground that has been hidden for so many months is beginning to re-appear. Today temperatures rose to 15C or so, a big change from what we've been experiencing. And the sky was bright and beautifully blue.   [caption id="attachment_2040" align="aligncenter" width="1224"] The linden tree is framed between two old maple trees, planted over 100 years ago on the big lawn at Glen Villa.[/caption]   Despite this, not much is happening yet to the tree I'm 'following' this year, a linden or basswood, or

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Following My Tree: March

March 10th, 2015 | 6 Comments »
My linden tree (Tilia Americana) is still trunk-deep in snow. And I am still far from home. So again this month, I can’t post an up-to-date photo of the tree as it is. I can, though, post photos of the tree as it has been. And those photos, taken from a collection that spans the last ten years or so, show me that the tree conforms perfectly to descriptions I find on-line, on various government and educational websites.     [caption id="attachment_1594" align="aligncenter" width="850"] Bees enjoy the nectar of blossoms in

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A New Tree to Follow

January 7th, 2015 | 16 Comments »
Last year I 'followed' a tree, a rather pitiful corkscrew hazel, becoming less and less enamoured with it as each month passed. But I enjoyed the process of closely examining the tree and chronicling the changes month to month -- and I enjoyed following other trees written about by other tree lovers from around the world. I did this thanks to a meme hosted by the English blogger Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy. All this led me to decide to 'follow' a tree again this year. But instead of following a

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Colour in the Garden

October 26th, 2014 | 4 Comments »
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

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