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The Tuesday tree: first tints of autumn

September 7, 2010

Today is wet, windy and chilly. After the balmy weather of the past week, it really feels like autumn has arrived. The trees, however, are still at that in-between stage: heavy greenery, just beginning to yellow at the tips. This is most noticeable on the beeches, which have been looking decidedly wan for a couple of weeks now. But it is the horse chestnuts, the first to burst into green leaf in the spring, which are always the first to embrace autumn with any enthusiasm. Has anyone else noticed how horse chestnuts seem to favour one branch as their autumn leader? In Oxford, there is a huge old chestnut by Magdalen Bridge. Year after year, the leaves of the same large bough turns crisp orange and brown long before the rest of the tree has caught up. We have a more modest version here. This photo was taken last September, but the tree’s current appearance is exactly the same: two autumnal boughs on a summer tree.

See also: Can we pretend it’s Tuesday already?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2010 10:25 pm

    I do miss seeing trees changing colour. Though I am not happy that autumn is here with such force so quickly!! I was hoping for a more leisurely, gentle introduction than a Force 8 gale…..sigh

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      September 8, 2010 12:34 am

      Force 8 – oof! Sounds like both sides of the North Atlantic are having a bad time of it. When we went out into the wind to go to school today, younger son said cheerfully, ‘Hey, this is like Orker-ney!’. Actually I think we had a gentle breeze compared to you.

  2. Deb permalink
    September 8, 2010 12:20 am

    We’ve had a very dry, hot summer, so the leaves here in New England are changing early, some just drying up and falling off. I think this might not be such a great foliage year for “leaf peepers”.

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      September 8, 2010 12:36 am

      Can’t say we’ve had that problem in Scotland this summer! I don’t mind (much) though.

  3. September 9, 2010 8:05 pm

    What a remarkable chestnut tree – here in North America due to a blight in the 19th c, almost all the native chestnuts are gone, but we do have deliberately planted horse chestnuts, and in some cases such as my small sapling, a volunteers arises out of a chestnut lost in a bag of leaves. In our climate and given our adventurous native trees, chestnuts are one of the last to leaf out, and rarely display much colour in the fall, just yellowing a little and then shrivelling up. Right now there is a remarkable display of wild asters, both purple and white; and various species of goldenrod. The wild rugosa rose is still hanging on in places, but is paler than its usual magenta.

  4. September 9, 2010 8:07 pm

    Hi Beastie: Please disregard my previous log in identity – I sometimes ghost write a friend’s blog and was logged in to that site and didn’t realize it.
    Whoops! Senior moment!!

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      September 9, 2010 11:45 pm

      No worries, Janet! 😉 It’s fascinating to hear about the flora and fauna that people take for granted in other parts of the world. Just when I’m thinking that Scotland and (north) North America are quite similar, somebody mentions ‘bobolinks’ or wild asters and I am brought up short. I don’t think we have asters growing wild here (correct me if I’m wrong, somebody!) but we do have cultivated varieties. We definitely don’t have bobolinks.


  1. The Tuesday tree: it can’t be Autumn, I’m not ready yet « Dancing Beastie
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