Autumn Leaves

mystic fall leaves 001-001

Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, 2000

Several New England states cash in every year as tourists flock to see the autumn leaves.  Colors range from golden-yellow to brilliant red. When seen collectively, the trees are breathtaking. That’s me posing in front of a tree on a visit to friends in Mystic, Seaport.

According to New England Inns and Resorts:

When planning your fall foliage vacation in New England, you’ll want to plan your trip for the time known regionally as peak foliage. Peak foliage is the time of year when the colors of the area’s trees are at their most vibrant. Depending on the species, this is when the highest proportion of the leaves in an area are a fiery-bright yellow to light orange, offering visitors a spectacular panorama unlike anything they’ve ever seen.

I’ve taken my own snapshots in my garden here

maple leaf

Acer turning red

and here

Ana's Hummingbird resting in the Chinese Pistache

Ana’s Hummingbird resting in the Chinese Pistache

but today I want to direct you to two glorious blogs. If you’re a fan of autumn color, these are not to be missed.

First up, Joseph who blogs at The Visual Chronicles. Joe is publishing a series of stunning photography this month entitled The Wonder of Autumn. His photos are incredible.  He’s published a series of seven so far.  If you want to start from the beginning, click here. Please let me know if you stop by.

Next up, Laurie. Laurie blogs at Life on the Bike and Other Fab Things and she too is sharing beautiful slices of her travels back east. If you’re looking for a calorie-free treat for your eyes, may I direct you Rojo!?

Although I don’t dare complain about the mild, California weather, I do miss the dramatic leaf change of my Ontario home. We get color in dribs and drabs here, including our own Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis), but nothing rivals New England.

I hope Joe and Laurie’s photos are a welcome respite to your day.

Changing of the Colors: The Summer Edition


Who doesn’t like the spectacular color change that heralds the arrival of fall? New England’s tourist industry thrives as the green leaves give way to golden yellows, warm oranges and vibrant reds. Though less flamboyant, I present to you the changing of the colors: the summer edition.

First up, Hydrangeas. This lovely goes from bright green to pink, then softens to a dusty mauve before turning a cooler shade of green. You can snip flowers from the vine at this last stage, then brought indoors for drying.

Fading Hydrangea Collage

Hydrangeas Fade

Tomatoes need a variety of conditions before they turn from green to red. The smaller the tomato, the faster the transformation. Tomatoes need moderate temperatures, shelter from the wind and time.  The color can’t be forced.  According to Gardening Know How:

Tomatoes are triggered to turn red by a chemical called ethylene. Ethylene is odorless, tasteless and invisible to the naked eye. When the tomato reaches the proper green mature stage, it starts to produce ethylene. The ethylene then interacts with the tomato fruit to start the ripening process. Consistent winds can carry the ethylene gas away from the fruit and slow the ripening process.

If you find that your tomatoes fall off the vine, either knocked off or due to frost, before they turn red, you can place the unripe tomatoes in a paper bag. Provided that the green tomatoes have reached the mature green stage, the paper bag will trap the ethylene and will help to ripen the tomatoes.

Tomatoes from green to red

Ethylene Gas = Red Tomatoes

Pumpkins turn orange much the same way tomatoes turn red. In addition to color, they also need to harden before harvesting or they will quickly rot. We had a pumpkin survive on our front porch for over nine months one year. Once carved, however, the fruit rots within a few days. According to All About Pumpkins:

There are many indications that your pumpkin is ready to harvest. A Jack-O-Lantern variety should be predominately orange in color. If the vine has started to “go away” (meaning dying off and declining) this is another signal. Sometimes the stem is already starting to twist and dry. The most important indication to look for, is that the shell has started to harden. If you can easily indent the pumpkin skin using your fingernail, the fruit is still too immature to harvest. If you harvest it at this stage, your pumpkins will likely shrivel and spoil within days. When the shell has hardened, your pumpkin is ready to cut from the vine.

Pumpkin Turning Orange

“Acorn” Pumpkin Turning Orange

What’s changing colors in your garden? Do you have a favorite? Please let me know in the comments, below.


Miniland Wonders: Bonsai meets Legos

Can’t you just see the job description:  ‘Lego builders wanted, must play well with others.  Patience and math skills a plus.’

Without further ado, today’s blog is brought to you in pictures. All of the models are built from Legos.   The trees and flowers are real but pruned to scale:

San Francisco, California

New England

New England meets Bonsai

Star Wars Episode IV: Tatooine

Las Vegas, Nevada

Historic Ferndale, California
(This one’s for you, Bonnie)

Not pictured: Washington, DC, New Orleans, New York and Southern California. There is also a Star Wars Miniland, featuring scenes from all six episodes.

Blending The Two
A. Bison
B. Golden Goose
C. Elephant near succulents
D. Bison close-up
E. Dragon tail

What’s Growing at LEGOLAND

Native Wildlife
(That lizard tried to impress me with push ups)