Category: Fall Horticulture Highlight

Larch, Larix sp.

October 3, 2018

All the complicated details

of the attiring and

the disattiring are completed!

A liquid moon

moves gently among

the long branches…

-William Carlos Williams

Conifers may primarily be defined as producing their seeds attached to scales of a woody cone (pinecone, spruce cone, fir cone, hemlock cone sequoia cone, etc.) and generally are evergreen. Willaims’ imagery alludes to deciduous plants’ autumn readying for winter. The larches, Larix sp. are the largest genus of deciduous conifers. Three other genera of deciduous conifers in our living collection are Taxodium, Metasequoia and Pseudolarix.

There are perhaps 11 species (taxonomists may differ) within the genus Larix, or Larch, all occurring in the northern regions and/or higher altitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Cone characteristics along with geographic nativity help greatly in distinguishing between species. (more…)

Three-flower maple, Acer triflorum

October 31, 2017

Every leaf speaks bliss to me

Fluttering from the autumn tree.

                -Emily Bronte

We bring thoughts of some good news from Korea. The Three-flower maple, Acer triflorum is an outstanding small tree, often less than 30-feet-tall, which most autumns will display foliage in hues of muted golden yellow, then changing to scintillating red or orange. Many have noted that autumn color seems tardy this year, so perhaps during November you will still have an opportunity to seek out one of these fine trees. (more…)

Korean Mountainash, Sorbus alnifolia

October 3, 2017

“…No two trees are the same to Raven.

No two branches are the same to Wren.

If what a tree or bush does is lost on you,

You are surely lost…”

-David Wagoner

Who among us does not stand momentarily in awe for what certain trees or shrubs do, especially this time of year. The Korean Mountainash, Sorbus alnifolia is a tree to be praised during all seasons, but its autumn display must take first place during comparisons of its own seasonal ornamental attractiveness. Many an October to early-November at Mount Auburn, is enhanced with yellow fall foliage from our diverse natural cornucopia, which includes sugar maple, ginkgo, birch, linden, hickory, redbud, witch hazel, tulip tree, even ferns, amongst many others. None of these autumn joys also couple their golden hues with contrasting bright, red or pinkish, fruits as do our Korean Mountainash. In a good year, their vivid combination of colors could help to win it a place in the running for most striking tree in the fall landscape. (more…)

Dawn redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides

November 1, 2016


I am adorned in the russet-brown message

the soul brings from its coming-to-be…

-Jay Wright

metasequoia-glyptostroboides-autumn-habitNovember brings a continuation of our colorful autumn foliage even as some earlier brilliantly colored maples, dogwoods and others have now shed their leaves. Dawn redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides elegantly enhances its growing space throughout the calendar year, but the rich, changeable autumn color, yellow-brown, apricot, russet-brown, causes many people to stop, pause, and ponder, “What is that tree?”

That may have been a similar thought occurring to several different Chinese foresters and forestry professors seventy-to-seventy-five years-ago. In that relatively brief space of time, honest excitement was generated in the international spheres of forestry, botany and horticulture, as this formerly unrecorded genus actually amazed some in the scientific world. Even our Boston newspapers would ultimately include headlines such as, “Extinct Tree Yields Seeds for America” and “Fossil Tree Found Alive.” (more…)