For the Love of Leaves

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

That’s a quote from Anne of Green Gables, and it’s resounding in my mind. Fall is hands-down my favorite time of year. We’re finished with harvest and wildfires around here, and thanks to a couple of good soaking rains, the ground is somewhat moist and the air is clean. The neighborhood porches are sporting a pumpkin or two, and I’ve spied more than a few busy squirrels. The month of October also begins with my birthday and ends with my most favorite celebration of all, Halloween. But in addition to all of these great attributes …

October has leaves!

So many crispy, crunchy, drifting, tumbling, brilliantly colored leaves. On a recent walk, we witnessed the glory of a maple tree that we swear was the definition of neon fuchsia! It is literally raining leaves right now, and I can hear them gently tapping against my window as they fall.

Photo Sep 28, 9 20 31 AMsmall

How do the leaves know to fall in October? My curiosity sent me to Google, where I learned that trees possess an inner clock that is triggered by the length of daylight. The tree closes the water and nutrient routes to the leaves in preparation for winter, which causes sugar to build up. Sugar, coupled with a stop in chlorophyll production, is the sign a tree needs to make the pigment anthocyanin, responsible for all the brilliant reds of autumn. A succession of warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights above freezing tend to bring on the most spectacular color displays.

 

Leave a comment 10 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Meg,Fall and Halloween are my favorite celebrations too! There is just pure magic in the air with cooler temps, colored leaves, and shorter days. Here in north central Florida, we do have some deciduous trees like Dogwoods, Sweetgum, Southern Red Maples, Hickory, and several types of Oaks. Our leaves that change, however, are usually late November and December. The Dogwoods and a few of the trees are already changing a bit but we don’t have the impact of the leaf change of our northern neighbors. However, thanks to our farmers in Georgia, we get lots of great pumpkins and apples shipped down this time of year, so we are good to go!

    I have my pumpkin “Moonshine” on my porch and will carve it on Halloween. If you carve it any sooner, it will be rotten in two days! Yep, still got that Florida sun and our temps are running in the low 80s. Not great weather for carved pumpkins to last. LOL!

    I am so excited to meet another Farmgirl that loves Fall and Halloween as much as I do!

    “you better watch out, cause the goblins might getcha if you don’t watch out!!

    Trick or Treat!

    • Megan says:

      We just stopped in and picked up a dozen pumpkins for the front stoop. And this year it’s been so unusually warm we are waiting to carve ours as well. Such fun though and glad to hear you get to enjoy the changing of the leaves too.

  2. CJ Armstrong says:

    I love fall! Love the leaves and the cooler temps! Always enjoy a trip to the mountains to see the aspens in all their fall glory! We have aspens in our yard that are sporting their gold too right now. Also growing around here are huge cottonwood trees and our Longhorn cows love to eat those leaves! They are soooo funny!
    CJ

    • Megan says:

      Ah, the aspens… The few we have around here are gorgeous. Someday I’d love to see an entire forest of aspens in the fall. Enjoy!

  3. Bonnie ellis says:

    Fall and Halloween are my favorites too. We have many different kinds of trees here so fall is so colorful with green, red, rust, orange and yellow. I would really be sad to miss it. The yellow trees shine like sunshine when everything else is brown. Anne was right all along. I can’t forget the gorgeous colors in the veggies harvested from the fields and farms and the big orange pumpkins.

    • Megan says:

      Yes, the harvested veggies this time of year are worth noting! I currently have a kitchen counter full of yummy squashes, apples, and pears. MmmMmm!

  4. Krista says:

    Thanks Meg for sharing that information. It’s good to know the reason why our leaves change color in the fall. Fall is such a wonderful time of year. The colors are magical and the smells are fabulous. Long sleeve shirts are my absolute favorite. Glad to see how many other ladies enjoy fall. I hope to see our leaves changing color shortly here in Utah! Happy Halloween!

  5. Used to live in THE prime ” leaf peeking” territory, the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire. We would make fun of the tourists but secretly we were just as in awe as the visitors.

  6. Julie A. Weaver (ClaireSky) says:

    Hi Meg, I just discovered your blog. I will enjoy reading your back postings.
    I, too, love October. Especially walking through the leaves and kicking them up.

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