The Garden Blogger Fall Color Project – SE PA

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

I’m crushed that I missed the original announcement of The Garden Blogger Fall Color Project created by Dave at The Home Garden. If I’d known earlier, I’d have taken lots more pictures of the outstanding fall foliage colors we’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks in Bucks County (southeastern Pennsylvania). Fortunately, I did grab a few images from my place, from my parents’ farm, and from Lake Nockamixon State Park, so I’m happy to take part in Dave’s great idea. To enjoy a tour of fabulous fall foliage in other areas, be sure to check out the GBFCP kick-off post and Dave’s follow up posts at The Home Garden.

The shot at the top of this post, and the next few water-including images, are from Lake Nockamixon, which is very close to where I work. It’s on the other side of the county from where I live, so I’m not too familiar with the exact trees that are coloring here, but I’d guess that they are mostly various maples for the reds and oranges, and probably some sycamores (Platanus) for the yellows.

The next couple of shots are from my parents’ farm, which is next to my place. The color is mostly from sugar maples (Acer saccharum) and red maples (A. rubrum), along with lots of sassafras (Sassafras albidum), and the deep greens of the abundant Eastern red cedars (Juniperus virginiana) do a superb job setting off the bright reds, oranges, and yellows.

And a final two from Hayefield, the first one showing a maple (sugar maple, I think) in the lower meadow and the second from the back corner of the upper meadow, showing the Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) in its red fall glory on the tree trunks.

That’s it from my part of southeastern PA. Now, go visit The Home Garden!

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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Dave October 20, 2008, 1:22 pm

Thanks Nan for participating! Those Pennsylvania colors look great! I’ve always thought that you can’t beat a maple for fall color and your maples are no exception. The sassafras trees are just turning here and while they might be considered junk trees by some they really have some wonderful colors this time of year.

You came up with a great idea, Dave, and I’m delighted to take part. But, but…is it possible anyone thinks of sassafras as a “junk tree”? Ouch. They have such a distinctive form and fantastic fall color. And I remember the incredible taste and rich color of sassafras tea, when we’d dig the roots and Mom would boil them. That was long before the word came down that it’s bad for you, though – another childhood delight now denied.

our friend Ben October 20, 2008, 2:12 pm

Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos, Nan! We were so thrilled to return from drinking in all the breathtaking color in the West Virginia mountains and finding that we hadn’t missed it here. Dave deserves kudos for a great idea. As for sassafras being a junk tree, grrr!!! If people only knew how much I’d love to have a stand of them here…

Yes, isn’t this a fun idea? I hope it becomes a yearly tradition. And thanks for chiming in on the side of the sassafras.

Buddy Garden October 20, 2008, 2:46 pm

I just submitted my post too. What a great idea. My pictures were taken just this past weekend and I was surprised to see the colors hasn’t reached its peak yet. Your pictures are great and I love the vibrant colors.

Thanks for visiting, BG! I look forward to visiting you and the other project participants to admire the fall colors in other areas.

Dave October 20, 2008, 4:13 pm

Sassafras trees are great, and I like them but I don’t think many people do. We probably have 50 or so of the trees around our yard and they seem to be extremely prolific. They grow fast and have a great color for fall. I hope I didn’t give the impression that I don’t like them! In fact I’ve cleaned up the area around several of them to allow them room to grow. Anyway they will most likely show up on my color post when everything finally turns. 🙂

No, you didn’t give that impression; I was just shocked because I’d never before seen “junk” and “sassafras” in the same sentence! Having pondered it, I can see that their suckering habit and tendency to reappear once cut down could be a problem. But I’m trying so hard to get sassafras re-established in my meadow areas that I’ve spent hours this fall hand-trimming around each seedling that appears so I don’t accidentally mow them later. It’s much easier to spot them when they’re colored up for fall than when they’re leafless!

Lisa at Greenbow October 20, 2008, 4:41 pm

My goodness Nan. No wonder you want to share these photos. The color is outstanding. Not so much color here. I guess due to the drought like conditions. It is supposed to rain and get cooler this week. I can only hope for the rain.

Thanks, Lisa. We seem to be having the same weather patterns as you this year. It’s been a month since we’ve had rain, so the colors over here, while bright, have been short-lived. It makes sense that the trees by the lake have lasted much longer, since they’re not so stressed.

Frances October 20, 2008, 4:50 pm

Hi Nan, you part of the blogdom is certainly coloring up. All those sugar maples help give that pinky red to the yellows and oranges. We used to have sassafras in our other TN house and it was very aggressive. It would sprout all over from the roots from trees in the woods in the flower beds. Very pretty but not a good neighbor for perennials and veggies. We are still waiting for color here, everything is mostly still green!

Ok, not having tried to garden around a sassafras, I admit to not thinking of their potential drawbacks. I’m glad you shared your experience with them. But they’re so fantastic in the hedgerows around here that I’m trying hard to get some established in the meadow. Not in the garden itself, though!

Cindy October 20, 2008, 8:59 pm

Your fall photos are spectacular. I especially like the ones of Lake Nockamixon Park. I grew up very close to there and spent many family reunions at that lake. Our trees are just starting to turn here in Western PA, although I’ve seen many ablaze in color around town.

Thank you for visiting, Cindy! How neat that you know the lake. I’ve been driving back and forth through the area since spring, but this was the first time I pulled off into the park itself and took a quick walk to catch these shots. I really need to investigate it more; maybe once hunting season is over.

Benjamin October 20, 2008, 9:46 pm

Nebraska sure don’t look like this. Your pics remind me of Minnesota, where I grew up. My shrubs and trees are all too young to put on a good show, but at least the cornus stems are already red and awaiting their winter show.

Well, you have a good start on a great fall display with the plants you’ve chosen so far. And in the meantime, you can enjoy the fall foliage vicariously, at least, thanks to Dave.

Jean October 20, 2008, 10:45 pm

What lovely combinations of colors. Which reminds me, I just bought your book “Fallscaping” while I was at one of the Horticulture magazine symposiums! Can’t wait to dive into it.
As for our colors down south, well we can only hope. Maybe by Christmas??

Oh, sooner than Christmas, I hope! Until then, I hope you enjoy looking at Fallscaping; Rob Cardillo’s photos are fantastic.

Ken from Sweden October 21, 2008, 2:17 am

Hi Nan!
Outstanding photos.
I love the summer but I dont think I can live whithout the four different part of the year, they have there one beauty all of them.
Here in my part of Sweden the most of the leavs are on the ground.

Hi Ken! I’m with you in relishing the changing of the seasons; there’s always something new to enjoy, and the hope of getting things right next year. We’ve had some wild weather here today, so many of our leaves have dropped too, and it looks and feels mighty winter-like this evening.

Anna October 21, 2008, 2:26 am

Hey–my grandfather during the Revolutionary war was a hero and from your area. His gravesite is around there on someone’s farm. His name was Captain George Heinlein/Hineline. I’ve seen it spelled a dozen different ways. Did I tell you this already? I want to make it up there and document that part of my family genealogy.

It is just amazingly beautiful up your way. We don’t get those rich colors here in NC. We get lots of color just not as bright. I love the close ups of the leaves. Well..thanks so much and I had a great time.

I’m glad you enjoyed the fall colors of PA, Anna. No, I’m pretty sure you didn’t tell me about your relative before; I’m really think I would have remembered that. Sadly, many of the farms in Bucks County have seen bulldozed for development, but if you know where to look, you can still find a number of tiny cemeteries scattered about, especially in my area. There are quite a few township historical societies that may be able to help you in your quest.

Nancy Bond October 21, 2008, 10:52 am

Your fall colors are truly outstanding, Nan! Those groups of maples look very much like ours here in the east — I suppose a maple is a maple is a maple… 🙂 Wonderful photos.

I’m so glad that I took the time to get these shots, and that Dave gave us an excellent excuse to share them!

Helen aka patientgardener October 21, 2008, 2:29 pm

Fabulous colours – we just dont get them like this in the UK unless you go to a special arboretum.

You’ve intrigued me, Helen – you have arboretums planned specifically for fall color?

Gail October 21, 2008, 3:16 pm

Can you hear the collective sighs from garden bloggers in the southern states with no fall color yet! Sighing with both pleasure to view your gorgeous fall photos and with disappointment that we haven’t any! Dave, send me a few Sassafras seedlings, my wooded area could use their color and leaf form!


Your turn will come soon, Gail, and then we wintry northerners can be envious!

Cameron (Defining Your Home Garden) October 21, 2008, 4:30 pm

We still don’t have fall color here either! I guess I’ll have to drive to the mountains to see some color! 🙂 Now, if you still want to see roses, azaleas, ginger, colocasia and salvia in bloom….I can help with that!


Ah hah – you’ve nailed it, Cameron: This was basically our last fling of color for the year, while you’ll have lots of blooms for a while yet. It’s great that we can all share and enjoy what each other has to offer.

Garden Girl October 21, 2008, 8:07 pm

I’m new here, but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed your beautiful fall color! Because I live in the deep south, I don’t get to enjoy the changing of the leaves. Thanks for sharing yours.

Welcome to Gardening Gone Wild, Garden Girl! I’m glad you stopped by to enjoy a taste of fall here in PA.

Mary Ann Newcomer October 21, 2008, 11:18 pm

Your photos are brilliant! thanks.

Thanks in return for visiting, Mary Ann!

Sarah Laurence October 22, 2008, 9:13 am

Nan, these are beautiful fall foliage photos. I feel like I’m walking beside you. I discovered you via Dave so you weren’t too late. I only just heard too.

How wonderful to have yet another new visitor, thanks to Dave and his wonderful community-building idea. I’m glad you enjoyed the tour, Sarah, and I hope you’ll be back.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter November 10, 2008, 12:43 pm

What a great mix of color you found. Sassafrass is one of my favorite trees. The house next door to where I grew up had one in the front yard & we used to try to collect one of each of the three types of leaves each fall. Your Virginia Creeper put on quite a show this year.

M. A. Hoffman November 22, 2009, 2:48 am

Your pictures are very beautiful. I took some in that area also, but didn’t get as much color as you did, but still consider them prize pictures. Wonder if you could put me in touch with Anna, above as Capt George Heinlein is also my ancestor and I would be willing to share family information with her. Beautiful world we live in.

Thanks for visiting. You can contact Anna through her blog: Flowergardengirl.

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