Saturday, November 9, 2019

Fall color, finally—but I had to travel to British Columbia to find it

In the Sacramento Valley, daytime temperatures are still well into the 70s. There's a sense of fall in the air, but fall itself seems determined to keep us waiting. And rain? Let's not even talk about rain, or the lack thereof.

850 miles north of Davis, things are quite different. Stepping off the plane in Victoria, British Columbia where we're visiting daughter #1, was confirmation: Here they really are smack in the middle of fall. Temperatures are in the low 50's, not in the high 70's, it rained last night, and there is fall color!

Apparently we missed the fall color peak by a couple of weeks, but I wouldn't have known that walking through Finnerty Gardens, the botanical garden on the campus of the University of Victoria. It was like being inside a coffee table photography book: one beautiful sight after another. You cannot help but feel good about the world in an environment like that. 

Here are my favorite photos from yesterday's outing.

Acer palmatum 'Nuresagi'

Rhododendron fictolacteum. No fall color (it's evergreen) but the bronze-colored undersides of the leaves look like autumn foliage.

Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra)

Paperbark maple (Acer griseum)

Paperbark maple (Acer griseum)

Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Gold Rush') and Gingko biloba

Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Gold Rush')

Gingko biloba

One of several anemones we saw

Out of all the sights, this was my favorite

I'm terrible at fern identification, but I liked the subtle color changes as this fern is getting ready to go dormant

Unlabeled Hydrangea

Mahonia 'Charity'

One of many fuchsias in full flower

Another hydrangea

Magnolia kobus var. borealis

Sasa veitchii in the foreground. At first glance the leaves look variegated, but the effect actually comes from the dried leaf margins.

The University of Victoria Walking Tour brochure says this is giant timber bamboo (Bambusa oldhamii), but I dispute that. This is clearly a running bamboo, most likely Phyllostachys bambusoides.

It's strikingly beautiful at any time of year, but combined with the maple on the far side, it's a magical sight.

Speaking of magical...

I like to think that I could happily live in a place without distinct seasons, but when I see sights like these, I'm not sure. The temperatures that come with fall, now that's something else altogether. I would definitely not miss the cold!

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  1. Fantastic. That red-leafed maple in the second photo is spellbinding. It's 85F here already and it's not even noon yet.

  2. We've had an exceptionally dry Oct/Nov (after a very wet Sept) which has really extended our seasonal color. It's been beautiful! (the blue skies help too) Glad you're getting to enjoy a PNW autumn. And good timing too, before it gets too cold!

  3. The lit-up gingko is fabulous! There used to be a whole block or two of them on R Street in DC; they made the street glow...

  4. Beautiful Gerhard love the texture and color combined...

  5. Wow that is beautiful, and it all looks so...well watered. One tree that reliably colors up here is Gingko--there's a baby one in the neighborhood all lovely gold. Acer foliage just browns.

    Was it really that cold?

  6. When you get home, take a quick look at Stanford Dr., the ginko lined street is very close to it's peak glory. Since we haven't had any rain yet, and no wind for the last several days, the trees have retained all their leaves.If you catch it at just the right time of day, the sun shining through the golden leaves is magical.

  7. Finnerty is such a lovely little garden. In the Spring it particularly lovely with all the ephemerals and rhodos blooming. Glad you had nice weather for your visit.