Tag: Autumn leaves

More on Autumn Leaves

More on Autumn Leaves

Having observed a rather rapid transition in the “red to dead” leaves in our area this year, one that resulted in a shorter period to enjoy nature’s autumn tapestry, I was intrigued by a couple of related articles in a recent issue of Dave’s Garden Weekly Newsletter. This is an excellent compendium of information, with contributions from professionals and amateurs many parts of North America.  If you haven’t yet come across this site, you can find it at www.davesgarden.com.  If you register (i.e. create an account, which is free) you will automatically receive the weekly newsletter.

Soft colours form a muted tapestry in early November

The November 12 edition contains Carrie Lamont’s account as to Why Trees Lose their Leaves in the Fall.  Her spritely approach combines clear information with clever illustrations, and provides a refresher course in the annual phenomenon that we all learned long ago in elementary school but are now hard-pressed to explain to another adult. Her basic thesis is that all plants first evolved in tropical climes when stems and fern-like leaves were sufficient to do the photosynthesis job. Later, evolution produced different plants which had broad flat leaves that were good for absorbing sunlight and for evaporation in warm air.  As temperatures cooled, those leaves were eventually adapted to be disposable in times of cold and dry air (as in our winter conditions). That’s why, in our climate, leaves fall in the fall; and round out the cycle of life by enriching the soil where they fall, with nutrients for the very tree or shrub from which they had been cast off.

A century-old apple tree still puts forth fruit, which is enjoyed mainly by local wildlife

By scrolling down Dave’s newsletter you can find articles from previous days of the week.  In this edition, they include other articles related to fall, like Gloria Cole’s “Fall and Winter Gardening ” (and, here,  a reminder that our own Niki Jabbour  published a comprehensive book entitled “The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener” last winter).

Pumpkins and fall flowers take pride of place when one has missed an opportunity to photograph a true vegetable market

Another entry entitled “Bulbs – a year in bloom” provides a primer on growing a wide selection of “bulbs” throughout the year.  But first, author Toni Leland clarifies the terminology used to differentiate the many plants that are commonly thought of as growing from bulbs.  Ms. Leland states that bulbs, corms, tubers and rhizomes all belong in the category of geophyte. They have fat underground roots or stems that keep the plant alive during cold or drought. A true bulb is actually a short stem and packed scales that contain nutrition and embryonic leaves and flowers; corms are enlarged stems containing a bud on top and covered with dry leaf bases; tubers are swollen with food reserves and have several “eyes”; while rhizomes are horizontal stems from which the stalk and leaves develop.   Whatever the term, in the Chester region it is not too late to plant geophytes now for “flowers that bloom in the spring, tra-la”.  In fact this month is also a time to start potting up narcissus, hyacinth and amaryllis geophytes for forcing indoor blooms.

An article entitled “Are Falls Getting Shorter?” caught my eye because it seemed to reinforce my perception that the season was briefer this year.  In fact, I believe the author,  Adina Dosan,  was merely nostalgic for the past and lamenting the fact that as we age time appears to move more quickly.  Nevertheless, she included some lovely images of fall colours.

As a contrast, to show how the camera can sometimes fool the eye, I’m including a photo below that appears to be snow-covered branches sheltering two deer. In fact, the “snow” is lichen that is growing on some very old apple trees that were part of a local farm well over 100 years ago. I was standing on a raised deck at quite a distance from the animals (the closest I could get before they bounded away) when I took the photo and it was only later, when cropping and thus zooming in on the subject, that the lichen forms looked different.

Thanks for the windfalls. Sorry we gotta eat and run…

Fall Foliage, Pretty in Pumpkin, and a Sumac Surprise

Fall Foliage, Pretty in Pumpkin, and a Sumac Surprise

Canada’s Thanksgiving weekend has arrived a little earlier than usual this year so the autumn colours in our area are still rather muted.  Much of the landscape is still very green but the leaves of  some hardwoods like birch have begun to turn into soft shades of lemon and apricot, which are beautifully set off against dark green evergreens.   Splashes of stronger colour, like the sharp crimsons of the maple trees, add to the intricate tapestry  of the  scene.    

Some smaller shrubs, like the Sumac on the left,  which are on the verge of making the change from  summer green to autumn red, provide a nice kaleidoscope of colour to a corner of a Chester garden.

oak leaves in autumn
Crimson maple leaves against a clear blue sky
autumn leaves
A virtual tapestry of soft colours
yellow birch leaves
White birch and golden leaves


Marmalade colours on a maple tree

Last week, a hike on a wooded trail in a local provincial park provided only slightly more fall colour when we came upon view of a cranberry bog in a secluded cove at one end of a large lake. 

Wild cranberries thrive in a bog at the end of Card Lake

Although the cranberries were a little out of reach for all but the deer, with the help of our experienced guide, we were able to sample other natural forest delicacies. One bit of vegetation we left untouched was the curious “mushroom” in the next photo. 

Unidentified fungus

A photo combining foliage and pumpkins as per the heading on this post…

pumpkins on display

… as  a nod to the seasonal “Harvest Home” …

fall flowers and pumpkins…is an acknowledgement of a Thanksgiving theme. The next photos show a different sort of development in the garden world – a Sumac surprise!  

Sumac aphid galls
Having found several fleshy gourd-like growths hanging from under the leaves of a Sumac bush in a Chester garden, and having never seen such a growth there before, the owner of the garden was curious as to what was happening. First, taking a scientific approach, she dissected one growth, revealing hundreds of tiny winged “flies”.

Sumac gall disected revealing aphids

Next, she consulted with another gardener. When neither could find a satisfactory explanation, an e-mail went out to the Museum of Natural History in Halifax,  and within a few days the gardeners had the answer to their question.

Aphids emerging from gall on sumac

A zoologist at the museum identified the growths as Sumac Leaf Aphid Galls, and assured the gardeners that these insects would do no lasting damage to the plants.  For more information, the staffer also referred the gardeners to a website maintained by the State of Maine’s Department of Conservation. If you are interested, go to: 


And we’ll close this post with a photo taken on October 6, showing that Chester, Nova Scotia, is still green and enjoying a mild climate despite it’s being Thanksgiving weekend.

The final word is a reminder that the next meeting of Chester Garden Club will be held on Monday, October 15, at St. Stephen’s Parish Community Centre.  The guest speaker will be Rosmarie Lohnes, well-known horticulturist and owner of Helping Nature Heal, and her topic will be Preparing your Garden for Winter.

Garden Club meetings can be fun!