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The it’s-still-Tuesday-in-Samoa tree

September 28, 2011

(This is nothing to do with the palm fronds of Samoa, I’m afraid. It’s just that yesterday was so busy that I didn’t have the chance to post a Tuesday tree, so I’m getting in quick on Wednesday morning before Tuesday disappears from the last shores of the globe. <sheepish grin>)

Up on the high ground of the estate the other day, I noticed how the green of summer is fading from the landscape, and especially from the silver birches, those quintessentially highland trees.

Although the pastures are still green, the vegetation on the hills beyond is dying off now.

The bracken is dying back into a mix of warm shades,

and the heather, which has bloomed for longer than usual this year, has finished flowering almost everywhere now and is turning the burnt purplish-brown of autumn. (The chestnut colour in the middle ground of the photo below is bracken, which has been cut back. There is heather in the foreground and background.)

Meanwhile the scrubby birches have an almost November-ish look about them,

especially when you compare them with the bright green of an ash sapling alongside.

One birch which I spotted even looked as if it were in fancy dress for Hallowe’en: it is absolutely covered in white fungi (below right).

I have read that our early autumn – the colours began turning in August – is caused by our exceptionally warm and sunny April, which jump-started the growing season. Perhaps these hardy trees are just not designed for such a warm start to the year, and have had enough.

Funnily enough, today we are enjoying a little burst of summer temperatures. It is already warm and is forecast to be 21 degrees C (70 Fahrenheit) this afternoon. That’s about as warm as it’s been all summer in Scotland! I’m not sure if the birches will enjoy it; but the rest of us certainly will.

See also: It can’t be autumn, I’m not ready yet (for the changing colours) and, for a look at this upland landscape in its summer colours, Blue hills and orange sheep: the Highlands in full colour.


(P.S. Goodnight, Samoa.)



15 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2011 12:48 pm

    Thank you, Dancing Beastie.
    Once again a feast for the senses, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am I have not got “smelli-vision-computer.” Although the sun is warm and gentle in Angus and the trees are looking lovely, too ….the local farmer is (shhh) …..muck-spreading. A noisome serpent in my personal Eden. (this is always assuming that I could persuade my camera to talk to my computer, which I can’t -yet.)

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      September 28, 2011 12:59 pm

      Thank you and thanks for making me giggle! Smellovision would be particularly good for this post; indeed, I was thinking just that as I was writing it. I just love the scent of the hills. Bog myrtle and bracken and fading heather and sheep and a clean breeze: heaven.

      To have a muck-spreading neighbour on a day like this does seem a little unfair!

  2. hmunro permalink
    September 28, 2011 5:35 pm

    Ha, ha! I’d never thought of posting on Samoan time. Thanks for the tip! And thanks, too, for the beautiful photos — and for the lovely tour of your beloved highlands. I hope to have the pleasure of walking these very landscapes with you someday. 🙂

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      September 28, 2011 5:52 pm

      That would be a great pleasure, my friend!

  3. September 29, 2011 1:04 am

    OK. Just like a movie set! Loved the Halloween fancy dress and fungi

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      September 29, 2011 11:38 am

      Glad you enjoyed it. 😉

  4. September 29, 2011 7:10 am

    It is a strange autumn. Things seem to be drying up rather than putting forth a blaze of colour. The shades in your photos recall a lovely muted tartan, tho.
    Another strange thing these past few days is that it’s been so warm even once darkness has fallen. Dark + autumn in Scotland = cold, and it’s very disconcerting that the equation isn’t working.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      September 29, 2011 12:30 pm

      You’re right, the warm evenings are very peculiar. Still, no doubt we’ll be nostalgic for them in no time! And I’m still hopeful that we’ll get a good blaze of colour once the frosts set in, as happened eventually in late October last year.

      Looking at the subtle colours of the hills at this time of year, I am always reminded of tweeds and tartans. You can see where the inspiration came from for the old setts.

  5. October 1, 2011 9:44 pm

    I love those muted shades of the hills, the heather and grasses. Thanks for sharing it; I don’t think I’ll ever get there.

    Here in Australia, we’re into our second month of spring and in a cold spell right now; the warmest we can expect today at Lake Eildon is 13ºC. Our avenue of Silver Birch is now lush and green, giving us shade and a cool breeze in the hot months ahead.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 2, 2011 10:59 pm

      This is the most beautiful time of year for colour in the landscape, I always think. Soft and tweedy. I do enjoy your fine photos of Lake Eildon, and watching how your seasons change in opposition to ours. It’s lovely to see your year beginning as ours draws to a close!

  6. October 2, 2011 9:33 pm

    Well I still appreciated seeing the trees even if they are rather muted! It’s been lovely and warm here too – though the midges have still be about. Looks like it’s set to change this week, but it was lovely having a bit of a a respite before the winter!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 2, 2011 11:01 pm

      Midges: good lord, I thought that those Orkney winds would guarantee midgelessness! We’ve had two warm days but are well back into Autumn now, with torrential rain and chilly days, while a cousin smugly tells me it’s 28 C in London and he’s off for a picnic. Ho hum…

  7. October 23, 2011 7:02 pm

    It’s been an odd autumn further south too, DB. The leaves started to change colour as early as August, but most of them are still on the trees because of the lack of frosts so far. Mind you, I think they will fall in torrents once the frost does arrive.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 24, 2011 11:39 pm

      Yes, ours are raining down this week after our first frost.


  1. The Tuesday tree: birch on an amber hillside « Dancing Beastie

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