One sure aspect of gardening is that we come more and more, over time, to appreciate plants that dependably put on a show. Take for example, my 'October Glory' maple, highlighted against our first dusting of snow of the coming Kansas winter. It has otherwise been a pretty dismal fall display here in Kansas. The drought and summer heat combined to make most of the fall foliage sparse, fleeting, and of hue subdued. At this time, the leaves of almost all my other trees are down, dry and crispy, blown here and there by the Kansas winds. But here, even in this subpar Iphone photo taken at the break of dawn, stands 'October Glory', now glorious deeply into November, holding onto its leaves and glowing like a burning flame on the prairie.
In fact, looking around the garden this morning, only four trees are still holding onto leaves. Other than 'October Glory', a paperbark maple and a swamp oak both cling to dry, ugly brown leaves. But I'm further intrigued by the fact that one of my three Cottonwoods, a volunteer specimen that I transplanted to a useful spot, is still holding on to some gorgeous yellow leaves while the other two have long been reduced to nakedness. I'll have to watch this one over a few years, to see if this color and foliage longevity repeat. If I'm very, very lucky, maybe there is a 'November Sunshine' Cottonwood in the future of the gardening world.