Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fall Color on Gimghoul Road and at the NC Botanical Garden

Until Sunday I'd only seen a ginkgo in autumn finery once, about fifteen years ago, a 'Chi Chi' ginkgo at the JC Raulston Arboretum. A 'Chi Chi' looks like a lollipop tree, very different from the rather gaunt profile of a typical ginkgo, but it had the same gold color. It shone like a candle amongst the other trees. I felt lucky to see it, as ginkgos are famous for dropping their leaves suddenly and all at once.

This ginkgo in front of Caldwell Hall made an impact from several hundred feet away.

The pergola next to Cameron Avenue in the Coker Arboretum used to be covered in Chinese wisteria, which of course suckered everywhere. It's been replaced with American wisteria. The warmth of the stone wall must have helped it to put out a couple of blooms.

A nearby tulip poplar. I noticed a lot of tulip poplars sporting bright yellow leaves on the
way to Chapel Hill. Ours color early, if at all, and their leaves have long since blown away.

Two more ginkgos.

Persian Parrotia living up to its hype as a fine fall foliage tree. The pictures don't really capture the beauty of this tree, which was the single most eye-catching tree in the arboretum at that time. It was as though it was bathed in celestial light, with angels singing.

This pond cypress looks a bit like it's been through a war. I think as a whole they tend not to be as full and handsome as bald cypress although Dirr writes that while at one time he considered pond cypress to be inferior to bald cypress, he later changed his mind.

The bronze leaves of an American Beech glowing orange in the late afternoon sun.

Witch Hazel 'Diane' showing beautiful fall colors.

We saw many beautiful oak trees lining Country Club Road on the way to Gimghoul Road, ranging in color from bright gold to orange to russet to bright red.

An arrowwod viburnum growing wild in Battle Woods. Their color is not always this good but this one was beautiful. I remember the scent of the flowers from childhood, since they grew in our backyard, as vaguely skunk-like.

There were several young Southern sugar maples in the understory.

My oakleaf hydrangeas -- 'Dayspring' and 'Pee Wee' are very dark in the fall, a deep burgundy with red highlights. This one had very large leaves and a lovely mix of colors. 'Alice' perhaps?

A surprising number of roses were still blooming. After
our recent cold snaps a surprising number would be "any".

And purple iris (drool)... I wondered if they were 'Eleanor Roosevelt' and asked on GardenWeb about it, Eleanor was one of the suggestions. I think it's a little bit too blue-purple and two-toned to be 'Crimson King'.

There were some beautiful camellias.

I know there is a candy-striped camellia in the sisters' garden but their garden is not open this time of year. I know it's there because I heard them describe it in this interview with Dick Gordon in 2011. (If you're interested in hearing the interview click on the link and slide the bar to 30 minutes.) There was also a piece published by Chapel Hill magazine in June of this year with a video interview. They are 98 years old now. Bernice Wade moved into her house on the Gimghoul Road with her husband in 1944. When her husband became ill in 1978 her identical twin sister Barbara Stiles moved into the apartment over the garage to help and has stayed ever since.

There were several lovely Japanese maples in the neighborhood.

It was getting late (meaning we would finish taking care of the horses in the dark), but I wanted to make a quick stop by the Botanical Garden.

Check out the yellow color on this native fringe tree.

I mainly wanted to see if the mapleleaf viburnum and southern sugar maples had any leaves left. As you can see the pickins were pretty slim!

But there were a few mapleleaf viburnum leaves left. These are paler and more pink than those in my FIL's yard.

The Education Center at the Garden. Plants for sale are to the right. Next time we go I want to see if they have any viburnums for sale. The Garden offers a lot of nice good-sized plants.


  1. Sweetbay, you have shown some fabulous fall trees! I love ginkos. There is a magnificent one at Aldridge Gardens, not far from me. I was there recently, and it was standing naked in a glowing pool of yellow leaves. Obviously, it had just dropped all its leaves. It was quite a sight. Unfortunately, I was there on a quick trip for business purposes and did not have my camera!

  2. Wonderful pictures, Sweet Bay! I love the Ginkgo trees, too! Also the Japanese Maples are glorious! Fall is my favorite season...just love the colors!

  3. What gorgeous fall color you have had, Sweetbay! The ginkgos are stunning. There aren't many ginkgos around here, so I rarely get to see one in its fall finery--thanks for sharing this beauty. I also enjoyed seeing the Persian Parrotia, since I've only seen small specimens of this tree in spring before. And those Japanese maples--they glow in the sunlight!

  4. Great pictures--and I love your descriptions. I spent a lot of time in North Carolina as a child, and these pictures make me want to go back so badly!

  5. There are few trees more elegantly beautiful than a Ginkgo in its fall foliage.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...