Fall Beauty at the Pond

Yes, the leaves are now off the trees, but we still wanted to share this beautiful fall day romp we had around the pond. Now we need to get down to the business of staying warm!

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Ah, the perils of fall

See a pretty leaf, pick a pretty leaf…

Maybe not if it’s poison ivy! Its color varies from this beautiful orange-red to a duller yellow, depending on how much sun the plants got and how much sugar is left in the leaves.

And of course, these native vines may be hidden among some more appealing plants, like this berry or the late-blooming smartweed we featured as our mystery plant a few Sundays ago. Look before you touch!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Have you ever seen leaves this pretty?

Know what it is?

I’ll check in with your comments later for guesses but below is a tiny hint if you like…

Most plants we squirrels feature on The Squirrel Nutwork are native. This one is not.

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Need another hint? The bark peels into speckles…

This patchy bark belongs to the kousa dogwood, Cornus kousa, a native of East Asia.

Its leaves are very similar in shape to our native flowering dogwood, but the colors tend more to red and yellow than the natives purple tones, as seen below:

The amount of yellow and red varies intriguingly vary from tree to tree. Nutmeg and I will have to make a run-around to see if this is due to the amount of shading, or if the red advances as the season progresses.

Enjoy the show of these small trees!

Beware of changing leaves

So folks, it’s that time of the year–or soon will be. We are getting lots of rain from regular weather, as well as Hurricane Florence pushing some up this way, so our trees and hillsides aren’t drying out. But have you noticed it’s dark by 7:30 these days? Fall equinox is this Saturday, at 9:54 pm. (How do you humans figure these things out?) The plants know the daylight hours are waning and will start to pull in their sugars. This makes the leaves pretty, and you humans like to touch them. Except theres one that shouldn’t be touched…

Yep, that’s the very pretty fall variation of poison ivy. The leaves are drying so don’t have as much natural oil as it does in the spring–the stuff that causes itchiness–but it has enough.

Leaves of three, let it be!