Hello fellow readers,
On September 22nd, the first day of fall, our weather seemed to turn a switch and leaves began to drop. It’s no surprise the early leaf changers and droppers, customarily maples, are showing wounds from the growing season endured. I stumbled upon one such leaf while on a road walk with Miss Ellie. It was adorned with tawny brown edges and splotches of vibrant happy yellow, the first color to show in the fall color shift, and mottled with its summer lime-green hue. It had an exquisite band of lace-like holes that especially caught my eye. Its fungus, evidenced by the brown edges, likely made the leaf prone to the insect damage that shaped the extraordinary lace.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac released their 2018 Fall Foliage Forecast stating a Vivid Northeast but Mixed Bag Elsewhere with a subtitle- Mixed Predictions Due to a Wet, Warm Summer. They report “Due to only a moderately rainy summer, we expect fall foliage in the Northeast to be excellent this year. (If the weather is too wet or dry, it’s not as favorable for the development of colorful pigments.)”
Vivid Northeast? How do they figure, when we were wet, humid, and hot? Per the National Weather Service, our area received over thirteen inches of rain the last sixty-days which is 51 to 75 percent above normal. And, the year-to-date totals of forty-six inches was eleven inches more than average, or 26 to 50 percent above the norm. Maybe we fall in the “mixed predictions” of the Old Farmer’s Almanac leaf color category, feeling cheated out of the glories of summer. Most of us, especially those without central air, spent the summer trying to stay ahead of the mold. The Almanac did say that “some sources report that the vivid foliage may come a little later than usual, especially up north, due to a late start to spring and leaf-out.” Maybe there’s hope that despite the early drop of mostly brown stressed leaves, a colorful fall is to come.
Back to the beautiful leaf that dropped in front of my feet on the first day of fall showing scars of its life lived. The thing is, there’s beauty in the marks on the maple leaf. Of a life lived. An outward colorful, holy display of the season endured. And despite it all, it’s done its job. The leaves no doubt have absorbed enough nutrients to nourish roots to ensure a fresh new start come the growing season ahead. Because Mother Nature is resilient. And so are we. Here’s to a new season. Garden Dilemmas? AskMaryStone@gmail.com