susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Sugar Maple

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We have a large Sugar Maple tree out front of the house.  It is just beautiful to watch as the leaves slowly change colors.  I’ve been taking pictures nearly every day, as I watch the fallen leaves collect under the tree.  One thing I noticed this year, is that the first leaves to fall are on the south side of the tree.  The north facing leaves change color later and stay on the tree longer.  We have had pleasant fall weather, so the tree has kept its leaves awhile.  If a wind storm or cold snap were to come up, this tree could lose its leaves almost overnight.

There is a resident gray squirrel in this tree, who we have been watching from the kitchen window all summer long.  No way he will sit still for a photograph, it is a wonder he doesn’t run away as soon as he hears the front door open.  I suppose he knows he is safe in the tree, since we cannot climb up there.  Recently, we have seen him climb out on a limb and nibble away at something.  Later, I looked close at the tree, and noticed the seed pods at the far end of the tree limbs, which must have been the objects of his interest.  We saw many gray squirrels when we moved here over thirty years ago, but soon after they disappeared.  In just the last couple of years, these animals have returned.  This is not the first wild / native animal whose population we have observed apparently growing and ebbing in a cycle.


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Japanese Maple on the First Day of Autumn

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Actually, autumn began at 7:30 pm last night, but today is the first day of the new season.  The color change of the leaves is very subtle, as it is just beginning, in this tree.   If you look on the upper left side, you can notice the leaves getting lighter, as they lose the deep red color they had all summer long.

Yes, that is a four foot high (122 cm) deer fence around the tree trunk.  Although the tree appears to be tall enough that the deer cannot decimate its foliage, I will not even attempt to remove the fence until spring.  There is barely enough forage for the deer at this time of year, and I have seen hungry animals stand on their hind feet to eat whatever they can.


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Autumn Joy – Sedum – Turtle Vase

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These snapshots show the progressive change of color of this outstanding landscape plant.  (I see the photos are posted in reverse order.)  While many sedums are groundcovers, Autumn Joy easily grows to 18 inches tall.  The above pictures cover the gradual darkening of this plant’s flowers.  They were taken over the course of a month, and the flowers will keep on getting darker for another few weeks.

I recently saw a line of about 20 barrels of these flowers decorating the entry to Maryhill Winery in Washington State on the Columbia Gorge.  They were still in the early stage of color development, and would look handsome for another month or so.

The bud in the Turtle Vase is still in the early stages of color change, as the stem was nipped by deer, earlier in its development.  (If you look close, you can see the darkening of the stem cut near the top flower.)  My plant is next to a fence, and the natives keep it pruned.

This porcelain vase is made by me in my ‘other life’.  A turtle is carved into the opening, and the piece was fired in my wood and gas fueled kiln.  The orange-peel texture seen on the vase shoulders is from soda introduced into the kiln near the end of the firing.