Little Fall Color Moments - Disneyland Roses, Japanese Maples, Saratoga Ginkgo, Dawn Redwood, Kousa Dogwood, Butterscotch Amsonia and More - November 2023

With all the #FallPlanting posts running here for a few weeks, I wanted to sneak in a post showing some of the things that are happening in the garden, yard and even on our block as the trees turn from green to yellows, oranges, reds and...well...even browns.  Dormancy is just about here and the garden is putting itself to bed.   Below are a number of photos that I took in late October (25, 26), but this post is going up more than a week later.  Since then, we've had a couple of HARD FROSTS.  Bringing the growing season to a close.   Here's a look around:


I'm not sure what to think is going on with all of the Japanese Maples.  Some of them appear to be "just fine".  While others...they...well...could be dying?  And others have been picked at by the (dang!) rabbits.  Starting with the First Ghost Acer palmatum planted back by the firepit.  This one has received the least attention, but seems to be doing fine moisture and sun-exposure-wise.  But, those tender, tasty green shoots?  Rabbit food.  See below for a number of leaves/small limbs laying on the ground and the stems that they were gnaw'd-off-of.   I took these photos, then got out some Chicken Wire to protect this tree. 


Next up is the Waterfall Japanese Maple.  This is the one that confuses me.  I'm seeing three things:  Yellow leaves.  Red leaves.  And brown, curled leaves.  

First the yellow - looks great, right?  But there's just a couple

Waterfall Japanese Maple Turning Yellow

Next up is red.  And this one is solo.   Everything else is green, yellow (or brown).  

Waterfall Japanese Maple Turning Red

Now...having yellow and red is, frankly, lovely.  But brown?  Yikes.  I'm not sure what is going on with a huge chunk of this tree.  See below for the brown parts.  Is this just natural dormancy?  Or something else?

Waterfall Japanese Maple Turning Brown

Right next door is the tall-grafted Inaba Shadire JM - which is now doing a two-toned red/purple Fall thing.  Lovely.

Inaba Shadire Fall Color - Two Toned Red and Purple

And the smallest JM - Firefly - is putting on some fall red color, too. 

Something I've watched over the years is the 'orange-ing' of the Dawn Redwood.  I posted almost exactly a year ago (Nov 2, 2022) on the orange-ing of the tree last year.  Below are a few photos showing the green-to-orange transition that is taking place this week:

Dawn Redwood - Fall Colors - Orange Needles

Dawn Redwood - Fall Colors - Orange Needles

Last year, I noted how welcome the orange of the Dawn Redwood is because we get mostly yellows and browns.  This year, seeing a little red with the Japanese Maples is nice, too.  But, there's another tree that is showing a little red for Fall:  one of the Kousa Dogwood trees planted along the northside of the garage.   See below for that small caliper tree (in training) turning from green-to-red before dropping its leaves:

Kousa Dogwood Tree - Fall Colors - Turning Red

This photo below was taken on October 26th and shows our backyard foliage just about at peak.  Still lots of greens, but those greens (the Oaks, mostly) will go brown versus oranges and reds and yellows.  If you look closely, things like the Butterscotch Amsonia and the red of the Alice Oakleaf Hydrangeas are starting to shine.

Zone 5B - Peak Fall Colors - Garden - Northern Illinois

Down the block, our street is 'paved in gold'.  Gold tiny leaves from Locust trees.  This was on a drive recently:

Zone 5B - Peak Fall Colors - Garden - Northern Illinois

And last...but certainly not least:  our Disneyland Roses.  They had a tough year.  I'm thinking it was Sawfly Larvae.  The leaves were eaten up.  The foliage is awfully thin and I'm hoping that won't kill these as they head into dormancy.  I've been all over them since Summer, but the lack of leaves might make the storage of energy difficult as they fight off our cold, hard winter. 

They're on their last flush of blooms - in late October.  Last year, I pulled some flowers in early November.  This year, it is more like late October.  And not a huge flush.   But, some of the most lovely flowers all season.  Below are a number of photos of the roses and the last garden bouqet that I put together for the season:

Disneyland Rose Blooms - Peach, Pink and Orange - Zone 5B - Floribunda Roses

Disneyland Rose Blooms - Peach, Pink and Orange - Zone 5B - Floribunda Roses

Disneyland Rose Blooms - Peach, Pink and Orange - Zone 5B - Floribunda Roses

Here (below) is a look at two of the six Floribunda Roses - in late October:

And...note to self:  Zinnias just keep going.  See below for some I just cut:


Another emerging STAR in our front yard is the tiny Saratoga Ginkgo tree that I planted in Spring of 2022.  It came from the Morton Arboretum sale.  It was (and still is) very small, so I tucked it into the Little Henry Sweetspire to sort-of protect it as it grew.  I posted about it earlier this Summer and talked about how it has seemed to have grown up just a little bit and emerged from the (height) of the Sweetspire.  Right now - in Fall - it is showing that it has certainly emerged from a different dimension of that Sweetspire shrub:  in color.  Have a look at the photo below showing the Saratoga Ginkgo standing off of the red of the Little Henry Sweetspire:



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