Fall comes slowly to this sheltered garden. When other spots are past their peak, the leaves on the nearby trees seem to equivocate a bit longer here before they finally decide to turn their attention to the coming winter. The fall foliage, when it finally comes, isn’t especially thrilling either. The surrounding courtyards were colonized haphazardly, mostly by silver maples and Ailanthus. The best I can say about either species is that they grow like weeds in the urban environment. The silver maples, Acer saccharinum, do go yellow but it isn’t exactly flush with the vibrant reds and pinks and gold of something like the legendary performance of the sugar maple. But the silver maple is a tree native to this region, at least, despite its penchant for brittle branches and hosting cottony maple-leaf scale. The Ailanthus altissima, that so-called tree of heaven, is anything but. Its fall is rather ugly in fact. The compound leaves and pendant brown bunches of winged seeds just seem to drop with a dull weight. The small grove of these intruders is several courtyards away but the winds often seem to drop them directly this way. Especially in the rain when the detaching leaflets become soggy and seem to suction themselves to any flat surface and whole bunches of winged seeds defy the rules of aerodynamics. Until they throughly dry, clean-up is more a matter of peeling rather than sweeping. The bunches of spindly seeds are everywhere. Oh, well. The surrounding forest is what it is. There’s even a beautiful white birch clump turned buttery yellow in the garden just above, to take off a few edges, and some Zelkova serrata, the Japanese elm, on the not-so-distant horizon off to the east.
Upper left, fallen leaves of Acer saccharinum, the silver maple; Upper right, Carex grayi, the club sedge; Lower left, Hostas starting to go dormant and golden; Lower right, maple leaves fall on the path and birdbath.
More hostas starting to go dormant. They’re underplanted in a pot that contains Metasequoia glyptoboides ‘Gold Rush’ and an Amelanchier canadensis, or serviceberry.
Through the fall, some fuchsias just don’t take no for an answer. Fuchsia ‘Caledonia’, for one.
Silver maple leaves turned yellow and strewn about. Ignore the odd Ailanthus leaflet, though.
Above left, the wicked trees of heaven, Ailanthus altissima, in the distance; Lots of maple leaves on the path after the rain. There will be more, of course, but time to sweep up a little.