Mar 18

A Little Spring Color

Posted: under Plantlife.
Tags: , ,  March 18th, 2009

Here’s the view we’ve had out the back door the past few days, minus the clothes on the line and the corner of the barn.


The pinky-purple is redbud, the green is roughleaf dogwood (not yet flowering), and the gold is a flowering red oak.  All are native, though these are yard plantings chosen to look good in (most) seasons.

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Dec 09

Colors in December

Posted: under Land, Plantlife.
Tags: ,  December 9th, 2008

A norther blew in this afternoon, so we have blue sky and sunshine–and the red oaks near the house are the reddest they’ve ever been, brilliant in the slanting light.

Most of these started as acorns collected from other oaks whose color we’d noted while driving around the countryside.    Then we’d watch until “red oak acorn season” and see if any had fallen on a roadside verge where it would be legal to collect them.   They’re not all the same–some  a deep, deep red and others more scarlet or even orange-red.

The ones nearest the house have had some supplemental water (when the town’s not on water restriction, which it is right now)  and are larger and more colorful than the ones we’ve put out on the land here and there.   Red oaks are more subject to the local oak diseases than bur oaks, but it’s worth the risk of losing them to have this glorious late fall/early winter color.

Of course, they’re also a great wildlife  resource–acorns for deer and wild turkey, nest sites for some songbirds, and plenty of insects for the little insect-eaters to go after.   Thirty years ago, late November into December showed the hillsides in dark green (live oak and juniper) and varied shades of red from red oaks, but about ten years ago one of the diseases killed many of them.  Oldtimers say it happened before and new oaks grew up.  Maybe by planting acorns every year (even if replanted by squirrels) we’ll eventually get more out on the land.

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