The only fall color I'll see this year

We don't have much fall color in Davis. In fact, if it weren't for the occasional pop of red, orange or yellow from maples, pistaches, ginkgos and the like, we probably wouldn't have any. 

Things are different in Mount Shasta, 210 miles to the north of Davis, where my mother-in-law lives. There's plenty of color among the conifers. We spent a few days in Mount Shasta last week, and after visiting Dave Egbert's fabulous off-the-grid garden 40 miles south, I got a chance to check out my favorite grove of black oaks (Quercus kelloggii) on the road from Mount Shasta to Castle Lake

This is the largest stand of black oaks I know. It's as beautiful in the summer as it is in the winter, but my favorite season is autumn when the leaves turn a vibrant orange-yellow. What a feast for weary eyes, no matter where you look. In fact, the next time my blood pressure is high when I'm in the doctor's office, I'll recall these images in my mind before the doctor's assistant repeats the reading. I bet my blood pressure will have dropped 20 points.

Looks great in black and white, too!

The California black oak (Quercus kelloggii) is native to the foothills and lower mountains of California and western Oregon. It's found from the Cascade Range through the Sierra Nevada and the various coast and traverse ranges all the way down to San Diego County. According to Wikipedia, large specimens “may exceed 36 m (118 ft) in height and 1.6 m (5.2 ft) diameter.”

© Gerhard Bock, 2021. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. I can see why you like these Q. kelloggii. We have hiked a bit around the town of Mount Shasta. It is very nice.

    Persimmon trees are among the nicest for fall color here in Berkeley. But like you we don't get great groves of fall color. I guess that is why these colors always draw my eye. Some years back I put together this gallery of other people's photos of great gold foliage on flickr.

  2. Beautiful trees and especially glorious shown against that clear blue sky. That's the best blood pressure control mechanism I've heard of yet. Maybe I'll print your photos and take them with me on my next trip to the doctor.

  3. Another way to lower your blood pressure is to walk through the leaves scuffing and kicking them into the air. Brings back your inner child.

  4. Glorious photos. One of the reasons I was so infatuated with Dave's off-grid home... it was surrounded by those oak trees. It's like standing in the midst of a natural temple.

  5. Cool! Not only are they beautiful but they also support so many birds and other wildlife.


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