Sunday, November 11, 2012

Barren Trees

Weather: A little rain yesterday; last rain 11/10/12; 10:25 hours of daylight today.

What’s blooming: Golden hairy asters.

What’s still green: Juniper, red hot poker, yucca, Japanese honeysuckle, winecup mallow, hollyhocks, leather leaf globe mallow, moss phlox, soapworts, sea pink, pink primrose, sweet pea, snapdragon, gypsum phacelia, alfilerillo, horseweed.

What’s red/turning red: Rose, raspberry leaves.

What’s grey or blue: California poppy, snow-in-summer, pinks, catmint leaves.

What’s yellow/turning yellow: Privet leaves.

What’s blooming inside: Zonal geraniums, aptenia, petunias.

Animal sightings: Small brown birds, hornets in garage.

Weekly update: The walk about, the aboriginal Australian term I use for wandering around the house looking at plants, changes with the seasons. In spring, there’s the discovery of new shoots, of plants come back. In summer, there’s always finding something new in bloom. In fall, you look for signs plants are preparing for winter.

This week, with gray clouds lowering overhead, I felt more like the weary householder, wandering around to check all the doors were locked before turning in for the night.

I wanted to see if trees had finally dropped their leaves, and were ready for the snow that would come sometime. The cottonwoods are always a worry, for they never seem to drop their leaves soon enough. And, it was only this week that mine, a flowerless one I bought at a local hardware, began shedding its leaves. The ones in the village have been releasing them with every wind, but the ones on the prairie are still brown and full.

The catalpas, both in my yard and down the road, all dropped their leaves early, as did the black locusts. Sometimes, the leaves are killed before the trees are ready to release them, and they linger through the winter. And, even though I’ve learned the snows don’t weigh them down, I still have the anxieties I developed in the north where winter ice broke branches.

The fruit trees have been the slowest to respond this year. The peach and sweet cherry shed their leaves early, but it’s only been in the past week that the village apples have dropped some of their heavy fruit and leaves. The sour cherry and apricot have been the slowest in my yard.

But when the leaves are gone, I can see next year’s buds are already formed, and next spring’s walk about is already in place.

Photographs: All taken 10 November 2012
1. Prairie, same view as 21 October 2012, only the lilacs are bare and the prairie cottonwoods brown in the distance. Between, the winterfat and salt bushes that took over the septic field in my yard, and the same growing between my fence and the cottonwoods.

2. Globe willow.

3. Cottonwood in my yard.

4. Catalpa.

5. Black locust.

6. Apricot.

7. Sweet cherry leaf buds.

8. Russian olive with fruit and some leaves.

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