As if on cue, the second week of October has brought the first real hint of fall colours to the Chester area. Among the first plants to show their “true colours” were the sumacs which, when backlit by the autumn sun, glowed with a wide range of reds – blending subtle shades of scarlet, crimson and burgundy.
These colours were followed within days by the lemon yellows, the peach tones and the scarlets that form the autumn dress of the hardwoods that make up a large part of our boreal forest in Nova Scotia. The colourful palette created by the stands of white birch, trembling aspen and maples that are tucked in among the deep greens of softwoods like spruce and pine, enthralls painters and photographers alike.
Below…surprise…a lovely spider’s web was spotted early one sunny morning, with the spinner resting and watching at the centre.
As if in response to the sudden appearance of colourful leaves on the trees in the countryside, brown-eyed susans and other autumn-flowering annuals were flaunting their bold hot colours in local gardens.
But, in contrast to autumn’s vibrant autumnal reds and golds, a healthy cluster of white morning glories sprawled defiantly atop a trellis.
While, in keeping with the season, a local nursery’s display signaled “Harvest Home”.
Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian viewers!
Fall Foliage, Pretty in Pumpkin, and a Sumac Surprise
Canada’s Thanksgiving weekend has arrived a little earlier than usual this year so the autumn colours in our area are still rather muted. Much of the landscape is still very green but the leaves of some hardwoods like birch have begun to turn into soft shades of lemon and apricot, which are beautifully set off against dark green evergreens. Splashes of stronger colour, like the sharp crimsons of the maple trees, add to the intricate tapestry of the scene.
Some smaller shrubs, like the Sumac on the left, which are on the verge of making the change from summer green to autumn red, provide a nice kaleidoscope of colour to a corner of a Chester garden.
Last week, a hike on a wooded trail in a local provincial park provided only slightly more fall colour when we came upon view of a cranberry bog in a secluded cove at one end of a large lake.
Although the cranberries were a little out of reach for all but the deer, with the help of our experienced guide, we were able to sample other natural forest delicacies. One bit of vegetation we left untouched was the curious “mushroom” in the next photo.
A photo combining foliage and pumpkins as per the heading on this post…
… as a nod to the seasonal “Harvest Home” …
…is an acknowledgement of a Thanksgiving theme. The next photos show a different sort of development in the garden world – a Sumac surprise!
Having found several fleshy gourd-like growths hanging from under the leaves of a Sumac bush in a Chester garden, and having never seen such a growth there before, the owner of the garden was curious as to what was happening. First, taking a scientific approach, she dissected one growth, revealing hundreds of tiny winged “flies”.
Next, she consulted with another gardener. When neither could find a satisfactory explanation, an e-mail went out to the Museum of Natural History in Halifax, and within a few days the gardeners had the answer to their question.
A zoologist at the museum identified the growths as Sumac Leaf Aphid Galls, and assured the gardeners that these insects would do no lasting damage to the plants. For more information, the staffer also referred the gardeners to a website maintained by the State of Maine’s Department of Conservation. If you are interested, go to:
And we’ll close this post with a photo taken on October 6, showing that Chester, Nova Scotia, is still green and enjoying a mild climate despite it’s being Thanksgiving weekend.
The final word is a reminder that the next meeting of Chester Garden Club will be held on Monday, October 15, at St. Stephen’s Parish Community Centre. The guest speaker will be Rosmarie Lohnes, well-known horticulturist and owner of Helping Nature Heal, and her topic will be Preparing your Garden for Winter.