October 8, 2013

A Trip to the Compost Pile

Our compost pile is behind a row of spruces at the back edge of our property. Beyond the compost area is a weedy open meadow and then a forested hillside. Behind the trees a busy road runs.

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.

But when the sun went in and the skies grayed over, all the red shouting toned down a little.

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?

32 comments:

  1. You put compost piles to shame! Mine is in a dark, forgotten corner in my neighbor's yard. It's not even worth mentioning.

    Fall in New England is glorious, and you've contributed to that with your beautiful trees and bushes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathryn, you have a great neighbor to let you put the compost pile there! I do love fall in this part of the country -- it's the best season.

      Delete
  2. You bet I take my camera. Unfortunately I don't have the gorgeous trees to salve my soul. My little suburban lot is almost choked with what is here. I love it anyway. Your views are marvelous. You are a great painter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, What a compliment -- to be a painter in the garden! Love it.

      Delete
  3. You speak with pride in describing your views, the views you helped create. How wonderful to feel you have done good, no great, work in the garden. Those moments are few so relish them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patty, It takes some discipline to look up, stop and do what you suggest -- relish the scene and the moment!

      Delete
  4. Oh, I miss autumn color in New England. Your trees are such brazen hussies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the season when it is hard to be a transplanted New Englander -- I know how you miss it. My son is here from Calif. right now -- he really misses the autumns he grew up with!

      Delete
  5. Your view is stunning! I would finally start a compost pile if I had a view like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather, When you do finally start a compost pile, take your camera with you, you might be surprised how nice your own views are!

      Delete
  6. No, Laurrie, I do not take my camera to the compost pile! You have created a legacy through the trees you have planted! I am sure many other people are enjoying the beautiful sight as much as you. Your meadow is also delightful. Very well done, all of it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb, I like the thought of creating a legacy. All I wanted when I planted the trees was some screening from the road, but now I see it is so much more.

      Delete
  7. Yes, indeed, my camera's always handy, including when I visit the compost, as I sometimes plant *in* the compost. Your views from your pile are a lot better than mine. What a show.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, I have some things planted in my compost row too, but they were self seeders like a pretty flowering tobacco, and the discarded Halloween pumpkin that sprouted the following year. You are the only one I know who deliberately plants in the compost!

      Delete
  8. Wow. What a satisfying feeling it must have been standing there, looking at those beautiful trees that you planted. Postcard perfect. I especially like the sassafras that's a little sassy and different from the rest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Holley, Thanks! That sassafras drives me crazy, as I cannot account for its odd form compared to the others. I like that it is "sassy", though : )

      Delete
  9. Laurrie, the fall is beautiful season in your garden. I love your 4th photo: nice combination of blue sky and red leaves. Also the last photo is of very quiet place, the dark green spruce and colorful trees, it's lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nadezda, thank you -- fall in this part of the world is always beautiful, and I look forward to it each year.

      Delete
  10. What a lovely view you have from your compost pile! To think that most of the trees in the one photo were planted by you--this has to make this scene doubly delightful. I can see that fall has arrived at your home, bringing some beautiful color.

    And no, I don't take usually take my camera to the compost pile, although I have had some of the prettiest hollyhocks growing from it:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rose, you need to take your camera with you, if only to shoot those compost hollyhocks!

      Delete
  11. I do take my camera to my compost pile! This weekend I captured blooming witch hazel, a few berries on the spicebush and the Cornus florida changing colors-all within a short distance. Amazing time of year-love your descriptions, I feel as I am walking there too in your gardens. Love the meadow especially.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane, I think I would like the view from your compost site! I am jealous of your blooming witch hazel -- I have H. virginiana and it is mature and leafy and green, but I cannot ever see the fall flowers. There are buds this year, though. They're still hidden by all the leafery.

      Delete
  12. I am fairly certain that if I had a compost pile (which I do not), I would not take my camera. I'd probably drop it, or lose it, or something. But I can see why you do. What incredible fall color. How nice to see those trees you planted years ago filling in and doing their thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, that's the most rewarding thing -- seeing the trees I planted (they were 5 foot tall Home Depot container plants in 5 gallon pots) grow into a real strip of forest!

      Delete
  13. First off I have no idea how I missed this post but I'm glad I found it now!!! Holy smokes is your garden and arboretum just the most gorgeous site!! I know this sounds crazy but I got emotional looking at your pictures this season....they are beyond stunning!!! I would never leave my compost pile if I had a view like that!!! Happy autumn friend!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nicole, I love that you call my garden "my arboretum"! That's what Jim calls it but he is biased : ) I'm so glad you think likewise.

      Delete
  14. The woods that you have created are splendid! I'm envious of your spicebush and big purple asters. I have Miss Bessie but willowleaf aster doesn't spill over as gracefully or have as rich of a purple color.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweetbay, the spicebush and asters do have such a natural easygoing look to them. They own fall!

      Delete
  15. I just have a worm bin in my basement and no one wants to see that or the extra stuff I throw behind the Rose of Sharon's. Your arboretum is amazing!! I love all that color. :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tammy, I do love hearing that my place looks like an arboretum!! I'm sure your worm bin is lovely too : )

      Delete
  16. Gorgeous color all around especially the foliage.

    ReplyDelete

Sorry about requiring code verification -- I experimented with turning it off to make commenting easier, and I got too much spam. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and to type in silly codes. I appreciate hearing from you.