When I looked up from my chore at the compost pile, this is what I saw recently. All those trees in the near distance were planted by me over the past seven years to screen the road behind. They are filling in, and now in October they are beginning to color. I am startled at the sight when I look up.
That stiffly tiered tree in the center right is a sassafras. I planted several at the same time, and this one is the only tree that has this open, tiered form. It turns orange weeks before the other sassafras trees even think about it.
Zoom in, and you can see it, starkly horizontal, right in front of a partner sassafras, still green and leafy and quite full. I planted both at the same time. Why is one so different?
Zoom in to some of the red trees that are coloring up, and it is evident that red maples, Acer rubrum, are quite shameless. This one is pinky blue red, very gaudy up close, but from a distance quite richly colored.
The overcast skies broke for a short time while I worked at the compost pile, and for several moments the sun was bright. The red maples made the most of it, posing in front of blue sky. I told you they were shameless.
I finish my work and turn around toward the spruces. This is what I see. The spicebush, Lindera benzoin, is kind of a nondescript shrub all summer, but in fall it drips lemony yellow.
To my left the hillside is coloring up in russets and orange. I did not plant these trees, they run along the opposite side of the road by a neighbor's house and are a wild stand of red maples, Norway maples, sugar maples and other trees.
I'm done with the compost now, and wander out into the meadow. I absolutely love my blueberry farm this time of year. These vaccinium plants are new, just planted this spring, but how vivid they are in October, all spindly and scarlet. I got a ton of blueberries in July, even on these brand new shrubs.
It's not all pops of red out here. As I wander through the meadow, bright purple asters jump up out of the weeds and surprise me.
I leave the meadow, cross over the little arched bridge and walk out in front of the spruces on my way back to the house. I turn around for a last look at the area behind the spruces, and it does not disappoint.
When you make a trip to your compost pile, you take your camera, don't you?