Before they fall

Leaves of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba, below) turn early in the season to a soft yellow, not the unremarkable yellow of maples and tulip poplars that whines that winter is approaching. But don’t blink, leaves of ginkgo are soon gone, sometimes within hours, so don’t miss a day or better luck next year. I rarely miss an evening strolling through the garden. Some days a few weeds are pulled, often ideas are inspired for the weekend, or for next year, but always there are flowers, or as today, leaves to enjoy.

I must again express regret that this slow growing ginkgo will soon be overwhelmed by a blackgum that once seemed properly distant, but of course it is not. A dogwood or redbud will grow comfortably into a neighbor of similar growth, but the ginkgo is slow, so within a few years it will be swallowed whole.

I have not been impressed by the autumn foliage color of katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum, below), until yesterday when the tree glowed in the evening’s fading light. This is a fine and under used tree that will stay a fraction smaller than the maples and oaks seen in most landscapes, and finally I can agree that today’s leaf color is exceptional. The scent of the autumn foliage is often touted, but I can smell next to nothing, so this is lost on me.

Dogwoods (Cornus florida, below with berries but green leaves) are quite variable in turning color. I’ve often noticed color changes late in September, but into the third week of October there is none. This is not a concern, and Oakleaf hydrangeas (below) and Japanese maple that are dependable in coloring are also late, but across the street the neighbor’s tree is in full autumn flush. Yes, there are variations in sunlight exposure and I’m sure other variables that contribute to autumn foliage color. I’m sure this dogwood will turn soon.

Oakleaf hydrangea, soon to turn

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dolores Procopio says:

    Hi, what is your opinion of the Stewartia tree? I put one in about 2 years ago, it is slow growing but I thought it should have had more flowers this summer. ?

    1. Dave says:

      Stewartia is very slow to get started, but after a few years it picks up the pace. I have had one for years that flowers heavily, even lower branches that are densely shaded. It has excellent autumn foliage color, so overall it is an exceptional tree, and well worth the wait for it to gain some size.

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