November 21, 2018

Caroline’s Garden Diaries 21.11.2016: All the Leaves are Brown ….

And yellow, orange, red, lime, purple, golden, rusty, fiery –making a gorgeous picture, so, no, I’m not dreamin’ of California. I want to be here, in England in November – it’s so beautiful and has been for weeks! Best autumn ever, I think. It’s true, Mamas and Papas, the sky is grey at this very moment and it’s raining, (which is why I’m at my desk) but even in the rain, the leaves are glowing. And there have been amazing effects with black skies for the trees to display against in their glory.

One reason we don’t have to dream of being in America to see autumn colours is that some of our most brightest trees were brought here from America by English landowners rich enough to have their dreams fulfilled. Red oak, red maple, tulip tree, tupelo, liquidambar are all introductions with the most fabulous reds and buttery leaves. And when you see the red maple called “October Glory” at the Yorkshire Arboretum, you can really understand about “painting the landscape” that the posh estates were doing.

America gave us the colours but we gave them the word. “Fall” would have been used by the Pilgrim Fathers when they sailed across the ocean, and it was only later the English converted to the French word “automne” for the fall of the year. Maybe with Brexit and Trump, we go back to Fall…….it is a useful word, a reminder of the downside to all the glory, that leaves are busy changing colour so they can fall down, leave their parents in peace and turn into a sludgy mess.

But it’s OK; when all the leaves are down, the English countryside will look beautiful in another way – bare trees on a frosty winter’s morning.


  1. Thanks Caroline, looks like most of the leaves have left now, though!

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