Neighborhood Leaf Walk
On the day before Halloween, Judy and I decided to walk around the neighborhood to check out whatever autumn color was close at hand. There are some nice parks and forest preserves that are not too far away but we just didn’t feel like driving.
There are many old shade trees in our area. In terms of mature street trees, I would guess that maples of various kinds are the most common. They do have good color, though I think they are somewhat overused.
Our local forestry department seems to agree, as they are now promoting a greater diversity of street trees. There is an approved list for parkway trees (which residents can choose from, though the trees are officially City property) that excludes both maples and lindens.
Unfortunately, the only maple species I can identify is the Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum), and that’s because we have one in the back garden. I like to think I know my annuals and perennials pretty well, and I’m not too bad on shrubs. When it comes to trees, though, I basically live in ignorance – though Judy is fairly knowledgeable.
The weather this fall is unusually warm. I wonder if there is any connection between this warmth and my sense that the leaf color has been less synchronized than usual. I have absolutely no evidence to back up this observation.
However, to be on the safe side, I propose the creation of a Leaf Color Coordinating Committee (LCCC, to be known among insiders as the “L triple C”). The LCCC would work to schedule autumn colors among the different tree species in order to maximize the viewing pleasure of the general public.
Though I will admit that it can be very dramatic when one single tree bursts into bright color while its neighbors stay basically green.
This house is less than a block from our own. Empty now, until recently it was occupied by an older person who was something of a recluse. I fear it will be torn down and replaced with something bigger and less appealing. Currently it has the look of an old cottage in the woods. The building used to be completely obscured by the overgrown front yard.
OK, I can recognize this tree – some kind of Buckeye (Aesculus).
This is the view on our street facing west.
When all the leaves drop you can see the underlying shape of the mature shade trees. I can’t make up my mind if this one looks like it is dancing or writhing.
Is it just me or can you also see a face in this bark?
An old tree with bark covered in lichens. Judy knew the species of tree (not a maple) but I can’t remember what she said.
The woodpeckers have been busy with this one. You would think so many holes so close together would have the effect of girdling the tree.
That tree cavity would make a nice home for some birds or critters if it were a few feet higher up. This trunk has an interesting wavy shape – as if there were muscles under the bark. I wonder if this is a result of the cavity.
And now to close on a completely different note. We have these neighbors who just LOVE holidays. Any holiday, especially if it can be celebrated with big inflatable characters. Halloween certainly qualifies – but you will see equally impressive displays for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
These neighbors and I share a common sensibility, I think. We both scorn timid presentations. What I do with plants, they do with inflatable holiday figures. Even so, I confess I’m relieved that they are not immediately next door, and they probably feel the same way about me.
Goodbye for now!