Still Searching for Signs of Fall

Fall is my favorite time of year. The air is brisk, the humidity is low and sweaters come out of storage. There is no better time for hikes, bird watching, biking and football. In the garden, my heart jumps with joy to discover a bit of space for new purchases, mostly trees and woody shrubs, to fill in gaps between plantings.

No matter how anxious I am, I can’t hurry the color. We are still waiting for fall in our Zone 7. Foliage remains green on the road to our home. I’m trying to be patient for the glorious shades of yellows and reds that will soon adorn these very trees on the same road. Last year the colors were glorious on November 3.

Anticipation is building. Today I made a quick exploration near the house to reassure myself that fall is indeed around the corner. I found mature nuts, ripening berries and plants gone to seed.

The American holly berries are turning red as are the Foster’s holly berries.

American Holly

Foster’s Holly

Seed pods of the Japanese maple have turned a deep red and look ready to fly; seed pods on the redbud trees appear poised to drop.

Japanese Maple

Redbud

Purple beautyberry and American beautyberry growing side by side offer spectacular fall color in the shade of a tulip poplar. Juicy berries ripen on cascading poet’s laurel beneath tall pines.

Beautyberry

Poet’s Laurel

Finally, proof of fall was found in the empty husks of the beech tree. Beechnuts have fallen to the ground and most have been removed by hungry squirrels. The last nut I photographed is the young red buckeye nut, seed or fruit. I’m not sure what it is called but I was tickled to have the 5-foot tree produce one.

Beech

Red Buckeye

Yes, proof is in the pudding. Fall can’t be too far away in Zone 7 in Virginia.

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester

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