Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Best Fall Colour in Calgary

Somehow it is the middle of October and we are quickly reaching an end to the growing season! Since we have had such a relatively warm fall with not a lot of frost, or any really!, the shrubs and trees have really put on a show this year! I have been busily snapping pics of my favourites all over my neighbourhood, so enjoy!

 While driving I spotted this tree from a block away and thought what on earth is that!? It's an Ohio Buckeye. Usually they are more in the Orange range in the fall so this took me by surprise. It must be one of the biggest I've ever seen in Calgary, what a beauty!
These were growing near a soccer field, it is some kind of Poplar x hybrid, forgive me I don't know every kind of poplar cross! They seem to turn about the brightest shade of yellow possible, set against a brilliant blue sky and beside a beautiful pine is quite striking!

These Ash trees, which I am guessing are a cultivar of the common Green Ash we have almost everywhere, is likely the variety Autumn Purple. Since it was invented in 1956 my only question is why didn't we plant them 60 years ago?
They seem to grow just the same as Green Ash so I hope in the future they will planted everywhere since we really lack red colour in the fall in this city!
Mountain Ash, a common but beautiful tree for Calgary. Just remember there are two types, American Mountain Ash seen above, is a relatively small rounded tree with large panicles of red berries, large leaves and a plethora of fall colour.

European Mountain Ash is a much larger tree, growing to 30 feet high or more. The leaves and berries are smaller and the fall colour is really variable compared to American Mountain Ash. This one in my neighbourhood is a favourite of mine, lots of orange-red colour in the fall, the one on my property is quite different though, it mostly turns orange-yellow in the fall, if it turns at all, sometimes the leaves are still green until a very hard frost! There are cultivars of this variety which have a smaller more unified form and more reliable colour. The berries of all varieties remain through the winter to be food for Cedar Waxwings and drop all over your patio the rest of the year!
Engleman Ivy, a cousin of Virginia Creeper, grows well in Calgary and I've only put it in here because it is very rare to see it's fall colour. What a shame we often have early frosts that make the leaves drop before it's full fall display. So, given a warm enough season, every few years we will get lucky. I don't think I've ever seen this shade of red in nature very often!

Cutleaf Sumac, a much smaller cultivar of Staghorn and/or Smooth Sumacs, is another shrub we hope the weather holds out for because of it's brilliant show. Also available is the cultivar Tiger Eyes, which is the Staghorn (fuzzy branched) version of this, it has golden summer foliage and bright Orange-Red fall colour.

Of course Staghorn Sumac is in here! Even if the weather gets fairly frosty these guys will turn red, purple, orange.
Yeah I have a Japanese Aralia! It does OK in a very sheltered spot close to the house and well mulched in the fall, it is curiously spiney on the stalks and the leaves. It is rare for it to turn a colour in the fall around here but really quite something!
Pagoda Dogwood, like the native dogwoods turns all shades of Orange and Red, perhaps a little darker though, always a nice show.

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