Capturing Color

Plumleaf Azalea

Perhaps the reason so many of us love autumn is its fleeting nature. Almost as fast as the leaves achieve peak color, a storm rips them away, leaving winter-bare branches. Overnight and through tomorrow, heavy, cold rains are forecast for my area, so I spent an hour this morning attempting to document the gorgeous color currently adorning every corner of our five acres of southeastern Piedmont.

For example, take that breathtaking plant in the above photo. That’s my Plumleaf Azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium) that I told you about here. I don’t know which I like better — the late June flowers or these magnificent November leaves.

And then there are the dogwoods. I grow three kinds. Here’s one of the huge (35 feet tall, 20 or so feet wide) mature natives (Cornus florida):

Cornus florida

It’s so wide that I couldn’t quite get it all in one shot. Here’s a close-up of one of its branches:

Native Piedmont dogwood

See all the fat flower buds ready to get busy next spring? Really, is there any tree that epitomizes Piedmont more than our dogwoods?

I showed you my evergreen Chinese Dogwood (Cornus kousa var. angustata) when it bloomed here. I mentioned that, although the leaves remain on the tree all winter, they do color up. They are just beginning that transition, as you can see here:

Cornus kousa var. angustata

Soon all the leaves will be that lovely shade of red. Again, you can see the flower buds waiting for next June.

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned that I also grow a deciduous Chinese Dogwood (Cornus kousa). This specimen adorns the end of our back deck. Its leaves turn a warmer pinkish-red than those of our native dogwoods, as you can see here:

Cornus kousa

I think all three kinds of dogwood possess considerable assets, which is why I welcomed them all into my landscape. The deciduous Chinese dogwood blooms about the same time as its evergreen cousin.

There’s lots more color where these pictures came from, but I don’t want to overload you with too much beauty at one time.  I’ll show you more soon, perhaps when cold rain darkens the sky, while heavy, wet leaves plaster the earth beneath naked trees.

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