Nature’s Last Hoorah: The Changing Of The Leaves In Fall

By Nikki Tilley | November 15, 2021
Image by bukharova
by Nikki Tilley
November 15, 2021

When I typically think of autumn, trees come to mind. Well, the leaves really. It’s that time of year when cooler weather prevails and the leaves change color (if you’re lucky).

The Changing of the Leaves

Unfortunately, fall isn’t my favorite season. It’s not fun watching plants in the garden die back in preparation for winter. For me, it’s rather depressing. That being said, I do enjoy the beautiful fall colors whenever we’re lucky enough to have them here. Sometimes the weather isn’t cooperative so we don’t always get a spectacular show. A perfect example would be now – this fall season has shown little promise in putting on a colorful display. In late summer we were inundated with blistering heat and little rain for so long that many of the trees have suffered greatly from heat or drought stress. As a result, a number of them have already been losing their leaves, without any significant color change. Just dry, crispy yellow or brown foliage gracing our lawns.

Nonetheless, I love getting to see the brilliant shades of yellow and red, or the fiery orange trees once the cooler temps finally arrive, usually around the first part of November for us. Of course, you’ll likely need to travel to the mountain region in order to view them this year. I have to admit nothing quite beats those bright orange-red sugar maple leaves during peak season. Still, I’m partial to the purplish colors from that of dogwoods, sweetgum, smoke tree or even my oakleaf hydrangea and forsythia shrubs. And with green being my favorite color, I’m a huge fan of evergreens, although these include far more than just green. For instance, did you know that some junipers can be blue-green? And lots of other “evergreens” can be found in golden hues. Many people don’t realize that there are a handful of conifers that change color in fall too – vibrant yellow larch trees are common sights around here in autumn.

The changing of the leaves is nature’s last hoorah for the season. It marks the end of our typical gardening season and the onset of winter’s chill. While it’s always a sad time for me, I can at least catch specks of color here and there across the landscape. And there’s usually plenty of greenery to be had from various shrubs and trees like camellia, eastern red cedar, pine, rhododendron, and holly. I’ll settle for whatever fall tree color I can get.

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