Saturday, November 20, 2010

Golden afternoons

View from the kitchen window to a maple next to the neighbor's pasture.

Autumn is beautiful and golden here. For a long time there was no great wave of color and I thought we'd end up with a relatively dull year for fall color 3 years running, but always there were flickers here and there. A scarlet Virginia creeper twining up into a Piedmont azalea; a sassafras in rich butterscotch and caramel tones; vivid crimson and wine accents by sumacs and blueberries. Then the leaves on the trees that hadn't been stripped by the wind came turned almost overnight. They glow in the slanting rays of the late afternoon sun. Callicarpa japonica leaves, which have never changed here before, look like miniature golden stained glass ornaments hanging from the branches. On the way to the feed store I saw a hickory clothed in its fall glory. Michael Dirr describes the color as old gold, a perfect description. Best of all, I saw a couple of perfect sugar maples. We don't have lots of sugar maples here, but those that are here really stand out. As much as I love red maples, to me nothing quite compares to the beauty of a sugar maple in fall. As I drove home, the trees are filled with golden light and cast dancing shadows on the grass. It's a privilege to be witness to such beauty.

It's difficult to fully capture the special beauty of that light on camera.

American Beautyberry and Aster 'Miss Bessie'

Mexican Petunia

R. rugosa rubra

Red maples and swamp chestnut oak in understory

This red maple almost looks like it's on fire at twilight.

Rosa arkansana

These golden days have been perfect for working in the garden.


  1. Beautiful flowers and fall foliage!! That Aster is showing out with its many blooms!! Don't remember if you saw my blog a couple of days ago, ut a found the Orangest Sugar Maple tree I've seen this fall, with here in our village! Happy Sunday!

  2. Your autumn colors are quite wonderful. We don't see much of that down here. Love your aster.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


  3. Those Autumn colors are fantastic, it's like a 'grand finale' before they go to rest. Beautiful pictures :)

  4. Sweetbay, You paint a beautiful fall landscape with your words and images. I love your descriptive writing and to see color again, when all is gone here is such a treat. The lushness of color in your Aster and Rosa photos is stunning. You make me long to be like some birds . . . to migrate to color and warmth.

  5. Beautiful autumn colors! Those flowers look stunning.

  6. The forest pictures are very impressive with the tall tree trunks contrasting with the foliage. I was very taken with the Mexican Petunia but of course I have discovered it is not hardy over here - always the way!
    BTW you asked about the yellow flower on which the Ladybird was sitting in one of ny posts - it was a Celandine.

  7. Autumn is a beautiful time of year, and you've captured the splendor in these photos. Your trees are beautiful in their fall finery!

  8. You have some beautiful fall color, Sweetbay. What gorgeous asters! Our trees are mostly bare now, but there are still a few bright spots in the landscape. While I'm driving during autumn, I find myself scanning the countryside, admiring all the colors. It's a good kind of "distracted driving."

  9. Golden and glowy and sublime. A perfect time for the garden. :)

  10. Around here it has been as if someone flipped on a switch about two weeks ago, and we have been enjoying the most brilliant display in years. I do like your aster/beautyberry combo.

  11. Love Michael Dirr ~ we have a well worn copy of his trees & shrubs book! He's from your neck of the woods, isn't he? I was noticing color such as you describe and show several weeks ago but not much left here now.
    Your stand of asters and beautyberry are amazing. I've never seen as big a clump of asters before ~ no wonder you get all those fantastic bee shots!
    Enjoy the perfect days for me too. It snowed here last night. Just 1/2" but enough to make everything white and messy!
    ps The adult male oriole was found dead on the road under the nest ~ I wondered if he had been picking up an insect when a car turned the corner and caught him off guard??? I've never seen one in the road before. The baby turned up shortly after that and had been run over. It was all very sad to me.

  12. Beautyberry is on my wish list. Your asters are beautiful - the blooms on mine didn't last long for some reason. Lovely pictures! Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving.

  13. I love your photos, as always, especially the ones with the tall grey tree trunks in contrast to the colored fall leaves. I also love the last image with the burgundy leaves. Here the trees are now bare and the world neutral grey and beige after the golden days of early fall. If I don't get another chance, have a great Thanksgiving!

  14. Gorgeous....I do think it was the most beautiful Autumn ever...I do tend to say this every year....the Beauty berry bush is a pretty one. We were given one this September by a very good friend. I am loving the purple berries.
    Purple has become my new favorite Autumn color.
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  15. It really is hard sometimes to capture how lovely our gardens can look as the sun rises, sets or even showcases a plant here and there~But, we carry those images with us into the gray days of winter~The asters on your road are simply wonderful! MIne dream of full sun! Have a great holiday week Sweetbay! I am so appreciative of Miss Bessie, dog fennel, Carolina Rose and knowing you! gail

  16. We had the same scare when it came to worring if the color would hit this year and yes, overnight it seemed to drop like a bomb! Your flowers are beautiful and that Aster is tremendous!!! I'm so glad I noticed that Mexican Petunia! I have them growing in one of my gardens and had no idea what they were! (I'm a northern gardener gone south). Now I know!!! I will have to read up on them. Thanks!!

  17. Your garden is wondrously lovely this time of year! Miss Bessie is gorgeous. I was afraid our autumn colors would be dull, also, after our September drought, but I was wrong! Late afternoon is the best time, year round, to catch the light in my own garden. Light truly does transform. I think many people miss out, too busy to notice.

    I hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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