six on Saturday, 14 November 2020

  1. This week’s six are straightforward–leaves. Red leaves and gold leaves. I’ll begin with the gold ones: Ginkgo leaves, as seen against the backdrop of a maple tree in the featured image. I adore this tree in part because it is a symbol of the small, private liberal arts college I taught at for 41 years (in fact my tree started as a seedling taken from one of the Birmingham-Southern College trees). But Ginkgo biloba is also an absolutely beautiful tree, besides being one of the oldest living trees, having been around for about 350 million years. It is often dubbed a “living fossil” on websites. Sometimes the leaves seem to go from green to gold almost overnight; most of the time they seem to drop all those leaves overnight as well. The first photo below gives some sense of how they change color from the end of their fanned edges toward the stem. The second photo shows the entire tree that has been growing for 25 plus years and has survived a tornado taking its top out in March 2008.

2. Below the ginkgo now serves as backdrop for a Japanese maple and the Euonymus alatus, or burning bush, I mentioned in a post last month. What I am focusing on is the Acer palmatum, which puts out variegated leaves in the spring, stays a bright green in the summer, and turns a stunning crimson in the fall.

The photo below provides a nice composite of the leaves in their transitional fall colors.

3. The Oakleaf hydrangeas also sport crimson leaves at the moment. The remaining flowers, however, have dried to a papery-brown. I like them. I like the tiny seeds, their contrast with the large leaves.

4. The next set of burnished leaves were a little unexpected. I have several forsythia shrubs; all but the one in the following photos are in the shade or partial shade and tend to yellow, fade in color, and just drop off as the season progresses. This one is in full sun and turned surprisingly red for a short period of time. As an icon for the capricious weather we have had this year, notice that in the second photo there is a dried poplar leaf among the branches and a feeble (out of focus) yellow bloom making a last hurrah.

5. A group of trees and a range of colors come in next. This photo obviously pictures the hill that slopes down to the lake behind the house. The red and orange comes primarily from maples. The green shrubs the foreground are an elderberry, an azalea, and a scraggly althea, or Rose of Sharon.

6. The final entry is a young sassafras tree with some very creative cellular stuff going on in the leaves. The orange color, though, is typical of the sassafras leaves if they do not simply dry out in heat and drought. A North American native tree of medium size, the sassafras has a great fragrance, interesting mitten-shaped leaves, and a long medicinal history. It comes up throughout the wooden area of the garden, but for me, is very short-lived.

So, that closes out the leaf review for this week. Other garden photos can be seen by visiting the site of The Propagator, who started this wonderful Saturday sharing of garden photos. There you will find guidelines for taking part in the sharing yourself and links in the comments to other gardens around the globe.

11 Replies to “six on Saturday, 14 November 2020”

    1. Fantastic! Tempted to try this with the next batch of fresh leaves next year. I love the aroma of sassafras bark and leaves. But even though I get lots of saplings, the trees just don’t compete well with the maples, black gums, oaks, and walnuts.


  1. Fabulous plants and colour and the sassafras is my biggest envy. I had seed from the USA many years ago but the seedlings didn’t last with me and I never tried it again.

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  2. Coming from Texas, I had never seen a ginkgo tree until BSC. I remember that first dazzling yellow golden display of leaves the first autumn at the College. I think Dan Holliman explained the botanical history of the tree to me (male and female trees?); and Diane Brown was absolutely smitten by them. I think it is so fitting you have one of the offspring. And the wild white hydrangeas you gave us were so prolific at our beautiful house on Greensboro that we had to cut them back. I miss the back deck and the view of the hydrangeas from it.

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  3. I miss visiting the two of you in that home. As for the ginkgo, yes male and female trees. Fortunately, I have only one, so no stinky fruit. John Strohl give me this one as a seedling.


  4. Sassafras is one that I would like to grow here. I tried once, but was then unable to take care of them. Otherwise, I have never seen them here. Those who are familiar with them seem fond of them. I do not know why they never became popular or even available here.

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    1. They come up on their own frequently in the wooded area, but do not grow strong or live long. Maybe they just don’t do well as understory trees, but I really like them. Maybe I should place one in a more open area. Do you think that would help one prosper?

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      1. I am completely unfamiliar with the species, so do not know how they perform as understory trees. They are related to the bay trees here, which start out just fine as understory trees. When I got mine on EBay, I was told that they were just collected from a forest floor, where they would not likely survive for long if left.

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