Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Autumn embers

Few falls have disappointed as much as this one (at least as far as trees are concerned): that mid October snowfall and 18F crisped most of the maples and ashes that give the greatest color in Denver. Even the cottonwoods turned brown. Even so, the 'Autumn Blaze' maples came through in fine scarlet and oaks colored up pretty well, justifying their robust (from Latin robur: oak) constitution...but at ground level, the rock garden plants colored up just as well or better than I remember (that 14" snow obviously protected them). Above, the orange mat in front in Dalmation geranium (Geranium dalmaticum) and behind the bluish shrub, the larger Geranium macrorhizum, both competing in orange and red coloration. Further on the left, Spiraea japonica is more a buff orange, and the brilliant red fan upper right is Euphorbia epithymioides. The picture was taken in late October, but the color persists on most of these now towards the end of November. Below is a picture I took a few weeks ago of Daphne alpina (deciduous, yellow) behind Daphne x susannae 'Anton Fahdrich'--a glorious dark green imp all winter, covered with deep rose red flowers in the spring. With this sort of Rembrandt coloration in fall, who needs the garish pastels of spring anyway, huh? The lesson in all this is obviously, if you want fall color for sure, you better have a rock garden!

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