Thursday, November 10, 2011

Autumn Glow

Autumn is long in North Carolina. I especially appreciate that this year. I was glued to my laptop for more than two weeks finishing my thesis while the fall colors infused the leaves on warm blue days.

And now I'm done, and I find fall still here and glorious. The golden-yellow of the hickories dominates our wooded neighborhood. 

You probably won't find a hickory tree for sale in a nursery because they quickly develop long taproots and don't do well in containers. All the more reason to appreciate them if they happen to grace your property.

Dogwoods are as stunning in fall as in spring. Some turn a coral, peachy-pink color, while others become purplish-red. They hold their leaves for a long time.

Camellias are in bloom. I have mixed feelings about camellias. It somehow seems inappropriate for them to bloom when all other plants are preparing for winter. They seem alien - and they are, originating in China. Yet they are lovely in bloom. And deer don't eat them! And they don't mind clay soil! In fact, they grow so well here that sometimes they appear to be fake, with their tough, shiny leaves and scentless flowers.  Here one grows under a hickory in the front yard. It's so pretty that I want to apologize to the camellia for my disparagement.

Since finishing the thesis, I have spent time sitting in the cathedral of the woods.

Dogwoods and a serviceberry light up the garden.

Serviceberry is a lovely small tree that is native to the Southeast. The variety below is called "Autumn Brilliance."

It's too early to start raking the yard. I prefer to wait until most of the leaves have fallen.

Back in the woods, I sat for awhile under a white oak surrounded by hickories. The remaining photos were taken with the smart phone. I keep telling myself I'm going on walks to appreciate nature, not mess around with the camera. But when the light is so beautiful, and autumn is drawing to an end, I can't resist trying to preserve the moment.

The lovely horizontal branches of a dogwood glow red in the afternoon sun.

It's good to have time to spend outdoors again!


linniew said...

First, congratulations on completing your thesis Sheila! Clearly the leaves are celebrating for you, with all that color... I think your camellias will forgive your doubts about them. (I almost killed my camellia and we are still friends.) Beautiful photos, even the ones taken by your telephone.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Cheers and celebration for finishing your thesis. I remember when I finished mine. I about deserve some time in the the womb of nature to replenish yourself...lovely photos no matter the camera...I love the hickory...

Bridget said...

Well done on finishing your thesis. Now you have time to enjoy the wonderful Autumn colours. Lovin the pics!

PlantPostings said...

Congrats, again, on finishing your thesis--that is huge! You definitely deserve a respite. The cathedral of the woods--I love it! Beautiful photos--even the ones with the camera phone. Lovely!

Sheila said...

Linnie, the leaves certainly appear to be celebrating! I'm pretty sure the camellias have forgiven me. They have the admirable quality of not worrying about others' opinions.

Donna, thanks! I nearly collapsed in relief. I hope to take a long hike today. The hickories are still glorious.

Thanks, Bridget. Glad you like the photos.

Beth, I am definitely relaxing this weekend. I still don't want to be on the laptop much, even nearly a week later! I must enjoy the cathedral before the stained glass falls :)

Karin / Southern Meadows said...

Congratulations on completing your thesis, that is a huge accomplishment! Your cathedral is stunning...I love all the colors. I just bought a serviceberry this year. It is small but hopefully will look great next spring.

Shyrlene said...

Fantastic photos!

Congratulations on completing your thesis; that is commitment and dedication that only few can imagine! How awesome.

Sheila Read said...

Karin, serviceberry is a great tree. I have two - one has grown very quickly and the other slowly, although they seem to be planted in similar conditions. Thanks for the congrats.

Shyrlene, thanks for taking the time to comment and your words of support!

Stacy said...

"Finishing my thesis"--oh, what fabulous words. Congratulations, Sheila, and welcome back to the outside world. :) I'm glad autumn was still so gorgeous for you to enjoy--the leaves and light and photos are all spectacular. Hope you're outside even now enjoying a great hike!

Carol said...

Congratulation Sheila! It is a joy to see so much color and how great you were able to have the time to enjoy it all. Beautiful photographs!! I love the camellia and yes they are a bit out of place but so lovely. I can imagine lying beneath the fiery canopy of woodland trees.

Indie said...

The cathedral of the woods - there is no greater place! It is so wonderful to go outside, breath the autumn air, and enjoy nature.

Congratulations on finishing your thesis! That's awesome!