Another eventful summer is over, with its challenging weather conditions and unexpected geological events. Who knows what the rest of the year will bring? One sure fact is that we are now able to start enjoying Fall’s beauty unfolding in our northeastern portion of North America. As the last fruits of this year’s tomato crop ripen on withered vines and petunias become leggy, tree and shrub leaves have less available sunlight to produce chlorophyll and are startinng to show their true colors.
If you are one of the fortunate who has the pleasure and privilege of sharing the place you call home with elegant, shade offering, oxygen giving trees and shrubs, then you can experience the thrill of nature’s changing signs simply by looking out of the windows or walking around your property. As October approaches, with its cooler evenings, wander around your landscape with a comforting cup of herbal tea, warm cider or rich hot cocoa while you check for trees and shrubs setting bud in readiness for next spring. Magnolia, dogwood, camellia and pieris are all loading up on buds for next year’s colorful display. Acorns are falling, dogwoods are bright with red nuts that squirrels, birds and chipmunks enthusiastically devour. Leaves are turning coppery, gold and red, while crape myrtles are ready for pruning, now that their blooms have faded and their seed pods are formed.
If you are not near an area where nature’s Fall colors are readily visible, then you may want to plan a visit during October to one or more of our area’s gorgeous public gifts – a state forest or park. Nature lovers, tree huggers and fall color followers have an enormous choice of state forests and parks to visit in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Here are links to help you find some near you:
Fina a PA forest:
Fina a PA state park:
List of New Jersey state forests and parks:
Don’t forget the many botanical gardens, arboretums, community gardens, farms, orchards and zoological gardens that also offer scenic views of this season’s natural artistry. (See some suggestions for places to visit in my May article.
Take the kids through the forest to see the transformation happening before their eyes. Spend time picking up different shaped leaves and remarking on fallen seed pods and nuts. Collecting Fall leaves can also make a fun scrapbooking project. After your visit, take time to visit the USDA Forest Service website which gives an easy to understand explanation of how leaves change color in Fall:
Recalling a visit to the forest may inspire you and bring out the imaginative side in you or your kids. Try taking rubbings of leaves or drawing around their perimeter and coloring in the shapes made to create interesting and unique posters, greeting cards, activity albums, bookmarks and framed art.
Nature’s beauty is all around us, but Fall brings out an enormously varied palette of leaf colors. Now is the time to fill your senses with the sights and smells of Autumn. Don’t let this season pass by without taking time to appreciate the stunning free tree art in our area.
Here’s the USDA’s Forest Service link dedicated to information about Fall Colors 2011:
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