Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Farewell to Fall

Well, it's time to say my final goodbyes to autumn here in Central Ohio. The trees are all bare now, I'm sad to say. But earlier this month, I made a trip out to Dawe's Arboretum and there is where I really said farewell.
 This quiet park is one of the finest in this area. Because it's an arboretum, they concentrate mostly on trees and shrubs, not flowers. The advantages of using trees becomes obvious every autumn.

One of the best parts is the fact that they use an auto trail around the park so that you can see it all without having to hike mile after mile. This makes it accessible to all. Of course there are numerous turnouts so that you can stop and enjoy each pretty spot. Boy did I ever!

I know about using different colors and textures in your landscaping, but I don't think I've ever seen it done so well as here.

This living sculpture, that spells out Dawe's Arboretum, can only be seen fully from the air. But if you climb the tower at one end, you can get a pretty good view of it.
 Well, the sculpture is just one beautiful thing you can see from the tower.

That lake was just so beautiful that I had to get up close and personal with it.

I have to admit that I drove through the auto trail twice, just so I could make sure that I didn't miss anything. But something sad happened on that second go round. My camera battery died, so I had to switch over to my phone camera. So the rest of the pix here may not quite be up to snuff. But it was such a gorgeous park that hopefully you will barely notice.

As I went to leave, I found a smaller traditional garden, and that's where I found this colorful carpet view. What I particularly like about this part of Ohio is the rolling hills, and this is a good spot to see them.
So farewell beautiful fall, I'll see you again next year.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November in the Garden

Years ago, I thought that the garden season ended with the first frost. I'm so glad that I was wrong.

Now I know better, because a garden can actually be interesting year round. Every November, I am surprised to find flowers still in bloom, even after they have been kissed by a few frosts.

Tonight we are expecting a killing freeze, so that will be the end of the these last flowers. It's always a sad day for gardeners. It will take more effort to find the "interesting" that I mentioned earlier.

Soon the fall colors will fade, and much of the landscape will turn to shades of browns and grays. It's a tough time for color lovers like me.

The winter interest I mentioned will be the dried grasses and flower stalks left behind. That's why it's important to use evergreens in the landscape.

I have to say that some of my ground cover plants are nearly evergreen, like this Chocolate Chip Ajuga and the nearby Dead Nettle, or lamium. Honestly, the lamium often sneaks out a flower here and there even in January. That's why I let it go a little crazy out front. It's worth it.

The last tree to lose its leaves around here is the ornamental pear planted by the city in the easements throughout our town. I look forward to this sight every year. I've always called it my clown tree, because it has so many colors at once. But someone else called them The Skittles Trees, and I like that even better.

November in the garden, who knew?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Autumn Finally Arrives

Fall colors were late to arrive this year, so when they finally did show up, I took my usual road trip to Chestnut Ridge. It's such a pretty spot to enjoy fall. Besides, my new camera needed a test drive.

There are many country roads between my house and the park, but my favorite is a little known street hugging the side of the ridge. There are a few homes along the way, but I don't think I've ever seen another car drive that way. I just love the view of the little towns down below, including my own.
But my favorite view is at the top of the hill, when downtown Columbus appears on the horizon. At this point, it is probably 20 miles away, but being on top of the hill allows it to stand out. And the empty road gives me a minute to stop my car, stick my camera out the window and snap!
Arriving at the park, I went right for the pond. Even though it was a pleasant fall day, I mostly had the park to myself in the middle of a weekday. Lucky me.

 So much to see! It took a lot of tweaking to figure out what to do with the new camera, so I just kept snapping away. I never did quite get it worked out, but I made a start.

Another great spot is this old stone bridge with the split rail fence nearby. Hmmm, what setting will allow my picture to capture what I see? I don't know, but it sure is pretty.

 I wanted to try out a few macro shots here and there, but Miss Ladybug did not want to hold still for a pose. So I spotted this nice, still leaf on the bridge. When a puzzled hiker inquired what I was taking a picture of, she didn't seem impressed when I said it was a leaf. Oh well. It's not the first time I have drawn stares while I was taking pictures.

As I was exploring, I saw the oddest tree on the path up ahead. It was a tree with double trunks, and I saw that somehow it had grown suckers or something between the two. As I got closer, I made a startling discovery. It's a man made project! I have no idea if it's an art project, or a park tradition, but I made sure to add a few twigs of my own.
I also know just where to find all the prettiest sweetgum trees. They fascinate me. How can one tree produce that many different color leaves? It doesn't matter, I'll just enjoy them.

 I had so much fun watching the fall colors peak that I intend to go back again tomorrow if the weather cooperates. You know, just because I need work with my camera. Not because it's a gorgeous fall or anything like that...