November 12, 2012

Not This Year

The two red maples in our back yard put on the most glorious show in November each year.  They turn scarlet all over, long after the other trees have shed their leaves in October. Against the bare branches of the surrounding woods, the maple's color is extraordinary.

This is a picture I took on November 12 in 2010.

The effect is so bright that the entire house lights up inside. On a sunny day in mid November, the indoors positively glows. At times it looks like the bathroom is on fire, and opening the shades in the morning causes panic at the sight of the back yard going up in flames.


I look forward to this spectacle each year, and the timing is always fabulous. The show starts just as the rest of the garden has faded and gone brown.

But not this year.

This year the fall color has been overcome by a combination of two unusual hard freezes in early October, Hurricane Sandy, and then a nor'easter storm last week that brought wind and wet snow (I've never seen that before -- heavy, sloppy, wet snow blowing sideways.  What the?)

This year at the same time in November I took a picture. Last week's snow is gone, but what a sad sight this tree is, compared to other years. Here it is on November 11, 2012.

A year earlier a very bad storm broke off major branches so the shape of this tree is now awkward. And this year the fall leaves were frozen, blown, and shorn before any color could develop.

We are sorely disappointed.

Every year is different.  Spring is even more unpredictable here, but every season brings its own unexpected delights and unforseen calamities. Another year will have to come and go. Both maples are healthy and branches will grow to fill in the broken shapes, new leaves will dress them up all summer, and they will color beautifully once again in fall. In a year.

Meanwhile, isn't it great that I have pictures to remind me of what I am waiting for. Here are a couple more from 2010.


Come back to my garden on November 12, 2013 and bring your sunglasses. These beautiful red maples will be in full color once again.
 

26 comments:

  1. It's so very true...you can't really count on the garden to perform the same every year...it's so dependent on the whims of the weather. Glad you have photos from the previous year :-)

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    1. Scott, the photos I have from each year are so helpful --- otherwise I think the current season is "the way it always looks" and that is never true year to year!

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  2. Leaves are a guessing game, this year was bad as we can see from the photos. Next year will be brilliant count on it.

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    1. Randy, I do count on the next year for a return to brilliant color and beautiful sights. But having to wait another 12 months is killing me : )

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  3. Ahhh, 2010. That really was the year of years, Laurrie. Same brilliance on my maples. Same missing color this year on the same trees. Consistency might be beautiful, but suspense is just fine too.

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    1. Lee, I remember those shots of your brilliant Japanese maples from 2010. It really was the best of all years, and I hope we get another like that year. I'm not so fond of suspense, but I do try to deal with it.

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  4. Last year here on Cape Cod, all of our trees looked like that after Irene. Strong winds with no rain, followed by weeks of no rain dried out everything and made it look yuck.
    This year on the Cape has been a bit nicer as far as the foliage goes.

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    1. Forest Keeper, I'm glad to hear the Cape looks better this fall and escaped the worst of Sandy and the nor'easter. Here's hoping for a glorious fall next year all over the east!

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  5. Hi Laurrie, Fall has had less drastic swings here just a bit north west of you. It has been cold, but not nearly as cold as it usually is. On the weekend we had a heat wave of all things. It was almost too warm for a sweater, if you can believe it! After days and days of rain it was a treat. I can't complain about the rain though. After a summer of drought, the land needed it desperately. Fall rains have oddly balanced out a summer of none. Somehow I imagine it will be the same for your maple. Next year it will have splendid color to make up for the poor show this year. We have made it ever more difficult for nature to even things out, but balance is the garden's natural resting place.

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    1. Jennifer, it would be so much better if the rains came consistently and not in cycles of drought and drench! I really like your philosophy that the garden in where balance finds its resting place.

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  6. Your red maples are gorgeous! I can understand why you're so disappointed this year, Laurrie, but you're so right--every year is different, and next year they no doubt will be brilliant again. We haven't had the weather extremes that you have had this fall, but spring is another story. Every year I seem to have something that is just starting to bloom when a late freeze comes along and zaps it for the season. The garden reminds me that life is unpredictable.

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    1. Rose, that's true here too -- spring is the heartbreak season more so than other times of the year. It is unusual for fall to be so unpredictable and random, but this year it was.

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  7. What a beautiful tree. Now I really want to plant one of these. I had no idea weather affected fall tree colour until I moved east and then people talked about what to expect each year. What an amazing detail, plants never fail to confound me.

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    1. Marguerite, Just when I think I have a reliable performer in my garden, and know what to expect each season, the trees and shrubs and plants behave differently. They confound me too!

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  8. Just had a wander through all your gardens, how lovely & what a great idea to photograph year to year, the different seasonal colours are amazing, well done!

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    1. Becc, thanks so much for visiting and wandering with me in my gardens!

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  9. I would be disappointed too because your maple is beautiful! My compact maple did the same thing this year but I am thinking it is from the hot dry summer we had. I was waiting for its brilliant color this fall and I too was bummed to see it turn slightly yellow and then drop its leaves. Oh well...I guess we always have next year!

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    1. Nicole, I like your optimism ... we always have next year! (PS, can't tell from your blog where your garden is. From you comment on the dry summer I am thinking you are in the midwest, are you zone 5/ 6?)

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  10. That autumn colour is gorgeous! November 12th 2013? It's a date.

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    1. Lyn, I will look for you next year when you come up here for a view of my much improved autumn color!

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  11. What a way to end this crazy year. Same thing happened with my Crape myrtle, leaves froze to a crisp, no fall color to speak of. Hopefully our trees are saving it instead for next year!

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    1. Rob, it's a disappointment, but as gardeners know, there is always next year. So come back here and check it out in 12 months!

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  12. The same thing happened to all the wonderful red berries on my winterberry bushes. Sandy blew them all off. They never even had the chance to survive the Nor'easter. So glad we have photo archives to get us through these crazy seasons.

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    1. Joene, I started taking photos so I would have a record of what bloomed, or what grew, or what turned color when--- since I can never rely on my own memory each year. I'm so glad i have the pictures now!

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  13. WOW!!
    Those Red Maples are just beautiful. I think I could look at them all day.
    We have lots around here but they didn't get that beautiful "red on fire" look that you have. So jealous.
    Very nice blog site.

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    1. Witch, thanks for visiting. There are plenty of red maples around here that don't color as spectacularly as these two late ones in my yard usually do. These are normally quite a show, just not this year.

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