I just returned from the International Maple Society meeting in Connecticut. When I tell people this, among the first things they usually say is something like, "New England in the fall. It must have been spectacular". Would you believe the appropriate adjective is "disappointing"? An unusually warm, damp fall has delayed the fall color and except for an occasional sugar maple, most trees we saw were green.
Consequently, you can imagine my joy when I came into the nursery and saw our trees here resplendent with more and brighter colors than I can ever remember. Even my shady back yard is looking great.
Here is the video I made the day I got back from my trip:
Check out these pictures from the nursery. Some of these were taken last week but most are from this Saturday.
I am especially delighted with the profusion of oranges this year. Mark Smith, the owner who has been in business over 30 years, agrees with me that this may be the best fall color we have seen. I suspect this will become our new normal as our weather continues to change. I have lived here over 60 years and can remember when June and October were both cool, damp months. Now our summers are beginning before the solstice and our Indian summers seem better each year. Warm, dry days and cool, dry evenings are the formula for great color on Japanese maples and other shrubs and trees.
You have likely heard that fall is the best time for planting. It may well be, especially in the Pacific Northwest. The advantages to fall planting are:
1) The soil is usually wet making it easier to dig
2) The weather is cooler and damper than summer making it easier and less expensive to provide adequate water
3) Days and nights are still warm enough for the plants to grow, although slowly. This means the plants have a chance to get situated and are better prepared to provide a first year's growth in the spring.
So, hurry in and find your favorite tree before the wind and rain do their thing and leave us with a lot of bare branches. However, when that happens, you can also see the beautiful bark and great architectural forms of many of the trees. Here are a few that show this, with or without leaves.
Shishigashira (Lion's Mane)