Through the Seasons at The Morton Arboretum: Then and Now (October)
"October is the month in which autumnal foliage coloration really comes into its own." - E. Lowell Kammerer, Through the Seasons at The Morton Arboretum, 1942
I’d expected writing this edition of Through the Seasons: Then and Now to be straightforward - trees would be changing colors before our eyes as we creep into autumn with the air taking on a welcome chill. I delayed putting this post together in an effort to capture a fuller picture of fall color. Now here we are, almost at the end of October, and it seems much of the greenery in Illinois is still just that - green!
Despite the seemingly sluggish turn to autumn leaves (is it truly delayed? Or does it just feel that way?), I was able to find some of the trees and bushes that my grandfather felt noteworthy for October.
He specifically mentions the Butternut Hickory providing a wash of clear golden yellow this time of year, and this Shellbark Hickory has a similar hue:
The Swamp and Red Maples that he describes as having a scarlet or crimson color haven’t seemed to turn that direction quite yet, but this Black Maple on the East Side of the Arboretum was giving off distinctly fall vibes:
And the leaves on this Korean Maple were just beginning to shift:
The Flowering Dogwoods were particularly vibrant closer to the beginning of the month - a stellar example of plants showing off what my grandfather classified as “scarlets, crimsons, and red purples of varying intensity”:
Closer to the ground, my grandfather described the effect of a red-hued groundcover during October
Adjoining the Administration Building courtyard is another red accent in the form of Cotoneaster multiflora, every one of whose arching branches is fringed with globes of scarlet.
This Spreading Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster divaricata) was showing off similar scarlet globes during the first week of the month:
At the end of his October passage, my grandpa briefly mentions the Beautyberry, which to me was the standout find during my October visits:
Over on the West Side of the Arboretum, the Schulenberg Prairie was decidedly Spooky-Season-esque on the chilly, overcast, day that I visited:
I’m looking forward to wandering the Arboretum more in the coming weeks and observing fall color sweep over the landscape as the weather turns colder. Like my grandpa, I think the Arboretum has much to offer in every season. But autumn is undoubtedly not to be missed!
Thank you for subscribing! If you know someone who might enjoy Bulletin of Remarkable Trees, consider gifting a subscription!
If you have topics you’re interested to hear more about or feedback for me, please feel free to let me know in the comments.
If you like what you’ve read so far, sharing Bulletin of Remarkable Trees with your friends would help a whole lot!