Ilex decidua

A Very Colorful Fall Walk, Part I: A Mighty Pretty Palette

I asked the human female, and it isn’t my imagination.  The autumns are definitely becoming more colorful around here.  I’m not sure if it’s all the extra rain or the combination of mild days and cool nights or what, but things do seem a little extra bright this year.

(The fact that Sigyn loves colored leaves so much has nothing to do with it. Nope.  I absolutely did not up the xanthophyll and carotenoid content of the foliage. That’s preposterous!  Not I!  No way would I meddle…

…Well, okay.  Maybe I helped a little.)

Sigyn and the human female are doing one of their Neighborhood Walks to have a look at all the colors.  I’ve tagged along to make sure that Sigyn comes to no harm.

The bald cypress trees around town have outdone themselves this year.

taxodium

One of my favorite pranks is to tell clueless gardeners that all those falling rust-colored needles means that the tree is dying and should be cut down immediately.  I once got a landscape professional to cut down a whole ROW of them at a botanical garden, before someone applied a clue-by-four to his empty noggin.

Even some of the oaks have colored up this year.  This blackjack has a distinctly rosy tint to its usual paper-bag brown.

blackjack

For sheer brilliance, though, nothing can beat sumac.

sumac

It’s very nearly the perfect place for my beloved to hide!  But I see you!

The farkleberries are sporting some Aggie Maroon,

farkleberry1

As well as some missed-by-the-birds blue-black fruit and one very graceful half-Asgardian dangler.

Other plants have fruit too.  These yellow nightshade berries may look like little tomatoes,

nightshade

but they are not even remotely edible.

Bet I could sneak some into the next batch of the human female’s stir-fry…

Oh. There you go.  It was only a matter of time.  Sigyn has found her favorite perch.

yaupon1

No matter what’s on offer, she always seems to like sitting in holly bushes best.

yaupon2

Looks like a bumper crop of fruit for the yaupons this year.

possumhaw

And the possumhaw is decked out as well.

It’s been a full morning of admiring and dangling–and we haven’t even made it halfway around the block yet!

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A January Afternoon Walk, Part I: It’s Far Too Green

Sigyn and the human female are feeling a little house-bound, so I’ve donned my old clothes so that we can all go for a walk in the woods.  (Or, rather, they’re walking and I’m being dragged.)

Wait–what month is this?  January, correct?  And Midgard hasn’t toppled over to put us in the Southern Hemisphere, has it?  No?  Then why is everything so green?

clover

It has been a most atypical year, weather-wise.  All of this clover and grass is comfy and good to sit in, but much more appropriate for late February or March!  And can we move on?  The sun is right in my eyes.

Sigyn has found some flowers.  Are they early too?

helenium

Nope.  This is bitterweed.  It is supposed to flower in the fall, but in the past couple of years there have been stragglers blooming all through the winter and random individuals all spring and summer as well.  Hogun’s topknot, it is sunny today!

Ah, shade!  And this yaupon holly looks about right for the time of year.  It stays green all year, and the human female said once that the berries will stay on until the migrating birds in the spring swoop in and gobble them all up.

holly1

You’ll pardon me if I don’t try one.  I know better.

This deciduous holly is a little more blatant in offering up its fruity goodness.  No leaves to get in the way.

holly2

(Augh!  The low sun is right my face again.  Curse these winter afternoons!)

We are also seeing remnants of last autumn’s flora.  This verbena is just hairy enough to have a halo when back-lit.

verbena

And the pink muhly grass still has a little color.

muhly

Whew!  We’ve walked over half the park.  Let’s rest a bit and then continue…

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