Autumn brilliance

Fall is firmly here.011One more really strong rain storm or gust of wind and all of the branches will be bare.

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But not yet.
016The colours are brilliant, and even this larch (Larix decidua) wants to get into the act.

041The colour show that we experience here in the north-east is stimulated by both shorter days and cooler temperatures.  The dominant pigment in leaves is chlorophyll, which keeps them green throughout the growing season.  But chlorophyll is unstable and weakens under less than optimum conditions, namely cold temperatures and decreased sunlight.  This is when other pigments, anthocyanins, tannins and carotenoids, take centre stage; first in barberry (Berberis thunbergii) and then in chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia):

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Even the perennials are feeling the change.  These rubbery-leaved pig-squeak (Bergenia cordifolia) are colouring up nicely.006

An abcission layer of cells begins to form at the petiole end of each leaf connecting it to the branch.   This finally results in leaves losing their grip and falling to the ground.

011But not before they breathe their final sigh.

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4 thoughts on “Autumn brilliance”

  1. Not too much red left on the trees now, but I noticed lots of rusts and copper, especially on the oak trees.

    I use to love the fall when I was still horseback riding. The ground wasn’t muddy and there were few mosquitos & horseflies. Now that I am gardening, its a bit of a sad time when we cut down or dig out plants.

    Soon our northeast world will be covered in a blanket of white and for the gardener its a time for a well earned rest.

    1. You’re right Libby. I feel somewhat guilty chopping down perennials while they’re still colourful and somewhat voluptuous, but the snow comes fast and I don’t want to be caught needing to clean up in the five minutes that we call spring. I am looking forward to that winter rest :c)

  2. I used to live in California before moving to the pacific northwest. I miss the warm days and clear skies, but fall definitely makes up for it. All the colors are so beautiful!

    1. Well, I don’t know which is worse — California or the PNW! lol! Yes, I do love these colours too. Its imminently better than all white :c( which we are getting right now!

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