Friday, November 24, 2017

Sometimes you just have to look harder

With the persistent heat we've experienced since the fall season began, I'd assumed that I wasn't going to see any fall color here.  Not that coastal Southern California is known for its leaf color in the first place but October was more hot than not, causing leaves on most of my deciduous plants to go from green to brown without any flashes of yellow, orange or red in between.  Early November was blessedly cool but our Thanksgiving holiday this week was pronounced the hottest on record.  Still, it cooled off at night, which isn't usually the case during our summer heatwaves.  And, when cutting back the grapevine on the north side of the house, I found we had a touch of fall color after all.

Most of the grape leaves dropped during October's heat but this vine, which had stretched over the fence into our lime tree on the other side, still had some leaves

Colorful leaves to boot!


This discovery sent me off on a scavenger hunt with my camera and I found a bit more leaf color here and there.

The peach tree that sits along the back slope near our property boundary is showing a flash of color

So is this persimmon tree in my vegetable-turned-cutting garden.  The persimmon tree on the other side of the fence dropped most of its leaves, all brown, in October.

The maple trees in the neighbor's front garden across the street are suddenly showing some seasonal color too

And this noID tree, also in the neighbor's garden across the street, is sporting warm yellow tones


While I was out looking at foliage, I realized that I wasn't the only one on a scavenger hunt.

I'd moved the 3 miniature pumpkins I had in the house into the garden 2 weeks ago when I saw they were showing the first signs of rot.  They were unmolested for some time but discovered as a happy Thanksgiving surprise by this squirrel.  He ran away with the smallest pumpkin the day before, despite the fact that it had to be almost one-quarter of his size.

These photos, taken from inside the kitchen, aren't great but I had to share the squirrel's aborted attempt to run off with another of the small pumpkins this morning.  He literally tumbled head first in the effort, as you can see in the middle photo.  Apparently, he gave up the idea of carrying it off, at least until he whittles it down to a smaller size.


If you're out and about this weekend, I hope you find what you're looking for too!


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

18 comments:

  1. I think one of my favorite pluses about moving from Socal to Norcal is fall-while it pales in comparison to the New England version I get so much enjoyment out of it ! Ginkos, Chinese pistache, Crepe myrtles and Japanese maples are all widely planted trees here and the strong fall colors in the vineyards adds to the autumn atmosphere. But the 'crisp' fall days are absent..it was almost 70 the past 2 days. That squirrel ! There are plenty in my neighborhood but they have shown no interest in anything in my garden unless I fill the bird feeder.They seem to prefer running along the fence line and climbing the neighborhood trees.

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    1. Almost 70F sounds fantastic to me, Kathy! We had temperatures over 90F for 2 days, drifting down into the mid-80s today. That's way above the late November norm.

      Although I have what are ostensibly "squirrel buster" bird feeders, I stopped filling them during the summer months and squirrel activity was reduced but they returned well before I began filling the feeders again this fall, about when the persimmons began to ripen...

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  2. Kris, your neighbor tree looks like a Melia azedarach, I have one in my garden. The autumn is bringing beautiful colors to your area, here things don't change much when summers gives way to autumn since there are many evergreen trees. btw the pictures of the squirrel are delicious! Have a great weekend.

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    1. Your tree identification looks to be spot on, MDN. It's a pretty thing, although very poisonous I learned.

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  3. Glad you found yourself a little autumn color, and how kind of you to share your pumpkin “pie” with the wildlife...

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    1. After the little pumpkins remained undisturbed for a couple of weeks, I'd concluded that they didn't have enough flesh to interest the squirrels. But I guess they just needed to finish off the persimmons first...

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  4. I had a little chuckle over the squirrel. I hope he was fun to watch as well as photograph. Glad you found some fall color, the shot of the grape leaf is very pretty. I know about the going from green straight to brown thing. Although we do get fall color here, I think it's mostly our natives that have adapted to our dry summers. Other trees and shrubs sometimes close up shop here early in August by going straight to brown and dropping their leaves.

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    1. Fall color here is really the exception rather than the rule. The neighbor's trees across the street usually offer a good show (the only one in the neighborhood that do) but the green to brown transition is the usual in our garden.

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  5. Not fall, but my fiddlewood is flashing orange leaves.

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    1. I almost included a photo of my Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire' in my post, Diana, just because it sings with the colors characteristic of autumn leaves in colder climates.

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  6. Your heat wave even made the news out here. 90 is way too hot! Glad you were able to enjoy a little fall color despite the heat. That squirrel is quite bold, isn't he?

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    1. Thankfully, we're looking forward to a dramatic dip in temperatures over the next couple of days, Eliza. The marine layer moved in here this morning and deepened as the day wore on - by mid-day I couldn't see the ocean anymore, although it remained clear at our elevation. Meanwhile, the squirrel continues to work on the mini pumpkins - he's tried to carry off both of the remaining 2 but they're still too unwieldy for him so he just nibbles away.

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  7. Glad you are going to be getting some cooler weather! Our fall here in N.C. arrives so much later than I am used to from New England/Hudson Valley...but still, it does arrive. Our Japanese Maple was brilliant last week, but totally bare now. I finally planted my 150 tulip bulbs, so I would love a little cold weather!

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    1. It's definitely cooler here today, Libby, and tomorrow is expected to me cooler still. It's great weather to work outside.

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  8. The photo of the peach tree shows just how steep your back slope is. Crazy squirrels. They never give up do they?

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    1. I spent a good portion of Saturday working on the back slope, Jessica. While it's neater than it was, the space still depresses the heck out of me as it could be so much more than it is. One day, maybe next fall, I'll hunt down the resources to help me deal with it. And, no, squirrels NEVER give up - or perhaps they're just slow learners. I caught another one trying his best to get into one of my "squirrel buster" bird feeders again this weekend. To his credit, he tried a new (though ineffective) strategy.

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  9. Your squirrel photos are hilarious! :) It's been hard to find any fall color here too; I realized last year the crape myrtles tend to thin before they color. This year I just hope they don't lose all their leaves before they finally decide they can turn!

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    1. I was amused by the squirrel's head-over-heels tumble too - I was lucky to have caught it. He's been back regularly, slowly nibbling away at the 2 remaining mini pumpkins. I'm giving him one more day to eat-up before I consign the leftovers to the trash.

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