More autumn leaves

overlapping fallen maple leaves

These broadleaf maple leaves seemed to have some kind of, well, something on them—those little black spots. I’m not sure if they are fungus or some kind of eggs. What’s interesting to me is that those places on the leaf aren’t turning colour the same way the rest is. I wonder why?

maple leaf with patterns of fungus or something on it

lots of fallen maple leaves

It’s raining, so they’ll be getting soggy now… but oh my, how pretty they are when it’s dry and they’re fresh-fallen!

view of sunlight "star" between fallen leaves

The most amazing leaves

closeup of multi-coloured leaves 1

We have (yet another) mystery plant in our yard. I thought it might be some kind of bergenia, but the leaves don’t seem to be right—they’re distinctly palmate, and the photos I’ve seen of bergenia leaves are distinctly not. In the spring it sends up tall stalks from its corms with sprays of lovely pinkish flowers—not a leaf in sight at that point— and then the flowers die back and eventually the leaves grow. It’s a big plant, the leaves are as big as those of the gunnera next to it (in fact, overall, the plant is bigger than the gunnera) and it stands three to four feet high.

And in the autumn, this is what the leaves do.  Continue reading “The most amazing leaves”

Backlit leaf

closeup of gunnera leaf

We’ve had a lot of rain lately—good for the lettuce and our cistern, but there’s something wrong about wanting to turn on the heat in July (we resisted). However, we have had some sun, and these photos are the result. They’re backlit gunnera leaves.

another shot of a backlit gunnera leaf

Unfurling maple leaves

uncurling maple 1

The leaves of the ornamental Japanese maple began unfurling a couple of weeks ago. The second photo is much more typical, but I like the stubborness of the sheath on the first one.

uncurling maple 2


Mystery plant

mystery plant 1

By the time we bought our property here, the once beautifully landscaped yard had been allowed to slide back towards wilderness—plants like hardhack have been invading what started out as open spaces. As a result, when clearing back bush for one reason or another, we sometimes find something that had been buried in brush. (We found a smoke bush that way.)

Today, while cutting it back to access a tree that I wanted to tie a rope to, I suddenly realized that what I was stepping on was not (for a change) hardhack or salal or brambles. It was Something Else.

So I cleared more than I’d originally intended, and uncovered this. It was literally crawling along the ground under brambles and hardhack to get a few leaves into the light.

So far my best guess is that it’s a Douglas maple (acer glabrum). It doesn’t quite match descriptions and images in my field guides, but that could be accounted for by its struggle for survival. I guess I’ll see if it produces flowers and then what happens in the fall and if it produces any maple keys.

Whatever it is, it was fun to find it so unexpectedly.

mystery plant 2

Willow buds

sprouting willow branch

The buds on this willow branch are sprouting quite enthusiastically. I find this slightly alarming, given that the branch was cut off the tree a month ago.


reflected light on leaves

One of the things about spring is the green. (Well, obviously.) But really—it’s such green green. It’s green that just shoots up and shouts “HERE I AM!” with the exuberance of a three-year old, or possibly a puppy.

This is a lily thing in our garden (one of these days I must actually identify it) and it’s particularly enthusiastic. It got an early start this year and then we had frost (well, ice) and I wasn’t sure what that would do to it. But nothing seems to have fazed it.

I was walking by when I noticed light on the shoots—not direct light, but sunlight reflected from a window. It produced an interesting, slightly unearthly effect that brought out the extraordinary colour really effectively. This image shows pretty accurately what it looked like.

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