Autumn: Crisp and Colorful?

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” Albert Camus

Have the leaves changed color in your area? They’ve been slow to change around here. The weather has been drab, with a cloud cover that’s kept us too warm. Until the past few days we haven’t felt cold, crisp air. I’ve seen only a few trees with golden foliage, a few with red and orange leaves, but many plants are mostly green with only a few colorful leave. Some trees have dropped their leaves without changing color.

Leaf senescence is the name for the biological phenomenon that causes leaves to stop producing chlorophyll, which makes them green, change color, and fall. It’s triggered by shorter days and cold weather. Sometimes leaves don’t change color but fall anyway. It’s been a relatively warm autumn, not just in my part of the world, but in other places in the Northern hemisphere, too. A friend in Virginia says the foliage there has also been slow to change. Maybe we’ll have to start preserving red, orange, and yellow leaves in Plexiglas or mounting them in frames, in case the climate gets so warm in that trees and shrubs no longer change color.

Because of the pandemic, and other reasons beyond my control, I haven’t been able to get out much this fall. I’ve stayed close to home and collected colorful leaves on my walks. All these photos were taken in other years.

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, Washington

The Rose Garden in autumn. It’s been a while since I visited. I wonder if this tree is as golden this year as it was in previous years?

This blazing maple is also at Pt. Defiance.

In the Japanese Garden. Pt Defiance.

Colorful leaves are everybody’s favorite subject. I even like the dark purplish ones and they way they contrast with the lonely maple leaf.

Isn’t this tree’s curling bark beautiful?

Madronas aren’t the only trees whose bark peels and curls.
Not everything is red, orange, or yellow in the fall. Autumn crocus at Pt. Defiance.

To keep autumn colorful we can grow our own plants that don’t rely on cold weather for their brightness. This vivid beauty is a Japanese lantern plant. It would be fun to try to grow one. It’s an invasive species. To keep it from taking over the garden, it would have to be grown in a container sunk into the soil, or on your patio or deck.

The Japanese lantern plant is related to tomatoes and potatoes. Inside the red-orange sheath is the plant’s fruit. I’ve never seen the fruit so can’t say if it looks like a tomato or potato.

2 thoughts on “Autumn: Crisp and Colorful?”

  1. Such lovely photos! Thanks for sharing. Autumn is truly the “fall” of the year.I am finally starting to rake maple leaves. Colorful and bright.


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