Glimpses of Glory Between the Downpours

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Across California, this weekend, fall color glowed between spurts of rainfall.  The cloud cover intensified the color, which was particularly glorious among the urban forests of the Central Valley and Sierra foothills.

Mosaic, McConnell Arboretum and Gardens, Redding (file photo) John Poimiroo

Today, on “Farmer Fred” – a weekly gardening program on Sacramento’s KSTE-650 radio station – Dr. Warren G. Roberts, longtime superintendent of the UC Davis Arboretum, described the spectacle to be seen there, including the Smoke Tree with its ornate clusters of yellow to red to purple smokey blooms, purple raywood ash, flame red Chinese pistache, Roger’s Red – a California wild grape hybrid with bright orange-red leaves, Formosa flame tree with its brilliant red seed pods, native California Toyon – also called Christmas berry or holly  for its crimson berries and dark green leaves – orange/scarlet Washington Hawthorne, golden-buff-colored Mexican feather grass, Greek madrone, autumn sage, and spectacular orange Christmas Cheer.

Botanical gardens provide concentrated and dependable viewing of fall color.  Pick of the week: any of California’s great arboretums.  Among them, we recommend:

  • Blake Garden, Kensington
  • Filoli, Woodside
  • Fullerton Arboretum
  • Huntington Botanical Gardens, San Marino
  • Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
  • Japanese Friendship Garden, Kelley Park, San Jose
  • Los Angeles County Botantical Garden & Arboretum, Arcadia
  • Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, Santa Rosa
  • Manhattan Beach Botanic Garden
  • McConnell Arboretum and Gardens, Redding
  • San Luis Obispo Botanic Garden
  • Quarryhill Botanical Garden, Glen Ellen
  • UC Berkeley Botanic Garden
  • UC Davis Arboretum
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