What is your favorite autumn color?
A preposterous question, I know. Sort of like, “Which is your favorite child?” or “Where is your favorite beach?”
Each autumn color has its own place in the progression, and its own astounding beauty.
Just as the bare branches against a winter sunset display an elegance all their own.
But, early in the season, I am always delighted to find a touch of scarlet amidst the still mostly green forest.
Scarlet jumps out from the masses with its invitation to revel in the pleasures of autumn: Fresh apples, freshly pressed cider, pumpkins, and woodsmoke on the evening breeze.
And much of the scarlet in our early fall landscape appears from the incidental “wild” things we might not even plant in our gardens: Virginia Creeper and other vines, Staghorn Sumac, “The Devil’s Walking Stick” tree, and native Dogwoods.
I believe it is in some way a reward for allowing these wild native plants space in our gardens.
We watch for these gorgeous reds as we drive around Williamsburg, deeply satisfied with every sighting of scarlet.
They preview the beauty about to unfold as our forests blaze into color.
We heard, earlier this week on the Weather Channel, that our forecast for peak fall color has been pushed back to early November this year.
That would be the latest ever for peak color in central Virginia; at least in modern times.
A friend and I discussed the strange autumn weather as we inspected her Passiflora vine, showing new growth and tiny flower buds, this afternoon.
There are Paperwhite flowers already in full bloom on our street. A strange sight indeed, this early in the season, before our first frost.
What has caused the strange timing of our seasons this year? Is it the pole shift? Climate change? Radiation in the atmosphere?
We are both keen observers of the unfolding seasons.
And we’re wondering whether it is still too early to plant our daffodil bulbs this year. There’s talk of some afternoon temperatures close to 80 degrees for us next week….
But some of the Sumacs have already dropped their leaves. And the trees across the creek get a bit brighter with each passing day.
The Dogwood berries shine scarlet in the sunshine, and I have faith that this touch of scarlet will soon spread far and wide as autumn comes suddenly upon us once again.
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014