My eyes were alert to flowering plants last week in honor of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. But by the weekend, the flaming foliage of the trees overshadowed everything in sight. The maples, in particular, are at the moment of glory that Henry David Thoreau had in mind when he penned his essay, "Autumnal Tints."
Acer tschonoskii ssp. koreanum (Butterfly maple) just begins to color (above). Notice the red twigs.
"Our appetites have commonly confined our view of ripeness and its phenomena, color, mellowness, and perfectness, to the fruits which we eat, and we are wont to forget that an immense harvest which we do not eat, hardly use at all, is annually ripened by Nature ... fruits which address our taste for beauty alone."
The color of this small Butterfly maple (above) seems to change and ripen hourly.
"October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky ..."
Acer triflorum (Three flowered maple) is the red tree in the left foreground (above). On the right is Hammemelis virginiana (common witch hazel) with an Acer saccharum (Sugar maple) in full color above it. The orange foliage in the center background is Acer mandshuricum (Manchurian maple) with a group of river birches further back.