Nature Notes: Fall Reds

cardinal
I photographed this cardinal in my backyard in early September. Today I saw a robin in my backyard. I usually see the cardinals in pairs or groups – the bright red birds are a delight.

profile
Here’s the September cardinal again, profile view.

rose hips
I looked around in my backyard for what to photograph for Nature Notes, and the rose hips caught my eye. “Rose hips are red, my kale is green, one evergreen died, my harvests are lean.” I’m growing kale in my front and back yards instead of grass. The ones in the front are doing quite well; the ones in the back look like someone nibbled on them. One of my little evergreen bushes died this summer — it could have used extra watering in our drought-like August. Oh, well.

burning bush
There is a rowing of burning bush plants near our supermarket. They are starting to turn red, though I noticed one was brown. Perhaps those also could have used more water this summer. Will fall foliage be less brilliant than last year’s due to the summer drought?

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9 thoughts on “Nature Notes: Fall Reds

  • This is a lovely post for Nature Notes Leora. You really had a tough summer and so did the plants. We had to water because everything we had was new, but it was a chore and I hated to use water that way… I am going to find an answer for your question about fall colors and write a post…Michelle

    • I mostly just watered my tomatoes and cukes. I watered my flowers in front somewhat, but some were neglected and died. New ones are already growing back from seed (marigolds and rudbeckia), but I didn’t think the evergreen was so endangered. One day I’ll have the energy to plant some more (or pay someone to do? na, I probably won’t do that).

      Thanks for hosting Nature Notes, Michelle. It gets me studying nature every so often!

  • From a NJ fall foliage site…
    The annual fall foliage bloom is dependent primarily on moisture and the first frost
    The quality of a year’s peak varies for several reasons. Some years, because of dry weather, the swamp maples, ash and other shallow rooted trees turn early in spite of warm temperatures. They are already fading when the deep-rooted, dominant hickories and oaks begin to develop warm, rustic hues as a result of a frost several weeks later.

    Sometimes the change spreads out over a month, and we miss those special few days when everything happens at once. Even when conditions are “perfect,” lack of sunlight can subdue the effect. Then a big storm comes along and blows the vulnerable leaves to the forest floor.

    Actually, the brilliant hues that show up in autumn foliage are always there- in the sugars and trace minerals that the trees pull up from the ground. A leaf changes its visible color when the chlorophyll- the green stuff that transforms sunlight into the complex sugars that nourish the tree- stops doing its job, recedes and allows the underlying hues to show through.

    The best color is achieved in a year with sufficient rain and a hard first frost for a few days that kills the connection between the leaf and the tree abruptly, trapping the sugars and minerals in the leaf. Then if it warms up again to allow the colors to develop, we’ve got a memorable season.

    • “The best color is achieved in a year with sufficient rain and a hard first frost for a few days that kills the connection between the leaf and the tree abruptly, trapping the sugars and minerals in the leaf. Then if it warms up again to allow the colors to develop, we’ve got a memorable season.”

      Those sound like the ingredients necessary!

  • We had ice on the birdbath water this week and heavy frost, so the colors are really beautiful now. I would never have thought of growing kale instead of grass. What a clever idea!

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