California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Spring Aspen Report

     Posted on June 15, 2017 by John Poimiroo

Quaking Aspen, Agate Bay (6/10/17) John Poimiroo

With only a week of springtime left in 2017, a quick trip to Lake Tahoe found some quaking aspen bent by this past winter’s heavy snowfall, but few signs of black leaf spot fungus.

The two aspen, seen above, were bent to more than a 90-degree angle from snow drifts that piled as high as the house. Prior to this past winter’s snow, the aspen were as straight and as tall as those to their left.

Such phenomena are often seen in aspen groves and I’ve often wondered how the trees got so distorted. Now I know. It’s the snow.

Fortunately, most aspen leaves are deeply green and healthy. Black leaf spot develops when it rains a lot in late spring and early summer, followed by a week of warm temperatures.

A day after the photo was taken, a light dusting of snow fell down to 4,500′ in elevation. This week, temperatures have risen.  So, the conditions are such that black leaf spot could develop. Let’s hope not.

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New Year Surprise

     Posted on January 3, 2017 by John Poimiroo

Cottonwood, Whitney Portal Rd, Lone Pine (12/23/16) Clayton Peoples

My New Year resolution has been fulfilled and color spotter Clayton Peoples made it possible.

I’d resolved to post in January and accomplish the resolution today with Clayton’s report from the Alabama Hills in the Eastern Sierra, west of Lone Pine, where (just before Christmas) he was surprised to find one of his favorite cottonwoods, “still hanging on to its fall-hued, honey/gold leaves.”

Clayton had only seen the tree in summer, previously. So, he was delighted to see it in its fall coat of golden glory.

If you’re driving north on US 395 to Mammoth Mountain to carve S-turns in its powder, you’ll find it by taking a detour onto the Whitney Portal Rd.

It’s visible behind the “face” (painted rock along the Whitney Portal Rd) which locals dubbed “Brenda” before it received a KISS-themed makeover (C’mon folks, there’s no way we mortals can improve upon nature).  Mt. Whitney is seen in the background.

Now, if only losing 20 pounds were as easy.

Whitney Portal – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!

Heading Toward A New Year as Fall Color Fades

     Posted on December 27, 2016 by John Poimiroo

San Gabriel Mountains, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia (11/23/26) Frank McDonough

White oak leaves, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia (11/23/26) Frank McDonough

The Three Graces, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia (11/23/26) Frank McDonough

Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia (11/23/26) Frank McDonough

Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia (11/23/26) Frank McDonough

White oak leaves, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia (11/23/26) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia (11/23/26) Frank McDonough

Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia (11/23/26) Frank McDonough

Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia (11/23/26) Frank McDonough

The last autumn leaves in California are now carpeting gardens, as seen at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens in Arcadia.

Frank McDonough reports that fall is fading with class and style, there.

In the distance, winter weather embraces the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains, dusting high elevations with snow.

Alena Nicholas reported photographing a white Christmas on Christmas Day in the San Bernardino Mountains.

That’s a rarity for Southern California, though televised images from Pasadena will provide typical and compelling Chamber of Commerce images of palm trees contrasted against the snow-capped peaks of the San Gabriel range, as the Tournament of Roses and Rose Bowl occur on New Year’s Day.

To all our color spotters, photographers and viewers, Happy New Year!

 

Southern California – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!

Pointillistic Impressionism at Autumn’s End

     Posted on December 20, 2016 by John Poimiroo

Anita Baldwin amidst fallen Gingko leaves, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden (12/16/16) Frank McDonough

On this final day of autumn, we share these artistic images of late fall color seen at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, which scores autumn’s last Peak of the Week.

Frank McDonough’s photographs of the scene remind us of the pointillistic impressionist paintings of Georges Seurat or Paul Signac, as points of bright fall color compose each scene.

This is likely the last post of what has been a beautiful fall. Autumn color will continue to peak this month at California’s lowest elevations, with the best variety of color to be seen in the state’s arboretums and botanic gardens.

Though, in the event we don’t report again this year, “See you next autumn, dude.”

Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden (12/16/16) Frank McDonough

Horse chestnut, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden (12/16/16) Frank McDonough

Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden (12/16/16) Frank McDonough

Japanese maple, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden (12/16/16) Frank McDonough

Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden (12/16/16) Frank McDonough

Daimyo oak, upper Baldwin Lagoon, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden (12/16/16) Frank McDonough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

LA’s Descanso Gardens Becomes an Enchanted Forest

     Posted on December 14, 2016 by John Poimiroo

Symphony of Oaks, Enchanted Forest of Light (12/13/16) Descanso Gardens

Flower Power, Enchanted Forest of Light (12/13/16) Descanso Gardens

Super Pool, Enchanted Forest of Light (12/13/16) Descanso Gardens

Christmas trees come in all shapes and sizes at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge.

That’s because several of the most beloved areas within the 150-acre garden become the “Enchanted Forest of Light” at night, through Jan. 8.

Unlike other festivals of lights that cover trees with twinkly lights, Descanso Gardens bathes its urban forest with intensely colored flood lights.

Rainbow Sycamores, Enchanted Forest of Light (12/13/16) Descanso Gardens

Luminous Lawn, Enchanted Forest of Light (12/13/16) Descanso Gardens

Super Pool, Enchanted Forest of Light (12/13/16) Descanso Gardens

However, this is more than a light show.  Descanso Gardens’ Enchanted Forest of Light is an interactive, nighttime experience unlike anything else in Los Angeles with a one-mile walk through eight distinct lighting displays.

As visitors walk through the enchanted forest, they trigger light displays and are awed by the beauty of the illuminated forest.

Highlights include “The Pool,” an interactive light sculpture by artist Jen Lewin in which people manipulate colors by walking over lighted pads.

In the Symphony of Oaks, visitors manipulate sounds and lights that fill the Oak Grove.

Descanso’s famous Japanese Garden is the last attraction along the walk before stopping for hot cocoa or a snack.

Flower Power, Enchanted Forest of Light (12/13/16) Descanso Gardens

Because of the show’s popularity, tickets are timed and must be purchased in advance.

White birch, La Cañada Flintridge (12/12/16) Descanso Gardens

Gingko biloba, La Cañada Flintridge (12/12/16) Descanso Gardens

Crepe myrtle, La Cañada Flintridge (12/12/16) Descanso Gardens

During daytime, the gardens provide a continuing show of nature’s color with native and exotic trees at full peak fall color.

Enchanted: Forest of Lights, Descanso Gardens,La Cañada Flintridge – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

 

LA County Arboretum Puts On Its Holiday Best

     Posted on December 13, 2016 by John Poimiroo

Crepe myrtle, Historic Section, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (12/8/16) Frank McDonough

Peacock Cafe, LA Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, Arcadia (12/13/16) Frank McDonough

Daimyo oak, quercus dentata LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (12/8/16) Frank McDonough

A road less traveled, near Tule Pond, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (12/8/16) Frank McDonough

Entrance area, LA County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, Arcadia (12/13/16) Frank McDonough

Entrance Rotunda, LA County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, Arcadia (12/13/16) Frank McDonough

Liquidambar, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (12/8/16) Frank McDonough

Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (12/8/16) Frank McDonough

Crescent Garden near Turtle Pond, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (12/8/16) Frank McDonough

Paperwhites, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (12/8/16) Frank McDonough

Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (12/8/16) Frank McDonough

Liquidambar and red maple, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (12/8/16) Frank McDonough

Eastern white oak, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (12/8/16) Frank McDonough

Fall color is nearing peak at Southern California’s arboretums and botanic gardens, with some species peaking while others are near peak.

Frank McDonough of the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden reports the color is “still kicking” in Arcadia, where Eastern white oak, liquidambar, red maple, daimyo oak, American sycamore and crepe myrtle continue to show deep crimson, orange and red.

Gingko biloba are still patchy, though rapidly approaching peak. Their canopies fan-shaped leaves hang heavy from twisted branches with a drape of lime to yellow color.

Frank captured a “winner, winner, chicken dinner” shot, only this one was a slice of peacock pie taken at the Peacock Cafe stairs. His comment?… “Photo ready – just add peacock.”

This week, we retweeted a photograph of fall color seen at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge and plan a followup report on natural and nighttime illuminated color to be seen at these gardens, during the holidays.

LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! 

First Report: Orange County Lives Up To Its Name

     Posted on December 13, 2016 by John Poimiroo

City of Orange (12/10/16) Son Nguyen

Orange County (12/10/16) Son Nguyen

Orange County is living up to its name, with orange leaves adding late autumn color to the season.

Chapman University, Orange (12/10/16) Son Nguyen

City of Orange (12/10/16) Son Nguyen

Son Nguyen visited Chapman University in the City of Orange to find its foliage at peak.

No wonder we rarely get reports from Orange County. Son’s First Report shows that it peaks in December (hand slap to forehead)!

Orange County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Rain Enhances Color

     Posted on December 13, 2016 by John Poimiroo

Oakland (12/10/16) Darrell Sano

Oakland (12/10/16) Darrell Sano

Oakland (12/10/16) Darrell Sano

Oakland (12/10/16) Darrell Sano

Oakland (12/10/16) Darrell Sano

Oakland (12/10/16) Darrell Sano

Winter (er, Fall) storms have been rolling across Northern California of late.  This past weekend, Darrell Sano awoke to the sound of pounding rain on his roof.

Likely rolling over in bed and groaning, Darrell awoke later that morning to find Oakland embraced by heavy fog and rain shrouding “all chances of any light passing through the winter (Fall, Darrell) mix”.

The rains continued through the afternoon.  

So, did Darrell use the day to check his home for leaks or clear gutters of leaves? No. He did as any great fall color spotter does… he went outside to take photos.

He wrote, “The sky was a giant soft box, gently illuminating leaves in the trees. Leaves knocked down by the rain covered cars, grass, sidewalks, you name it.

“Fall color transported to anything under it! The rain also produced another side effect, coating leaves in a lacquered, shiny surface.”

With the holiday rush in full swing, Oakland neighborhoods were quiet, calm, and speckled with harlequin colors.

Darrell ended his afternoon in the outdoors, soaked to the skin from the constant rain, but having spent one of the most enjoyable Saturday afternoons shooting in and around Oakland.

Oakland – Peak to Past Peak (YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!)

Special Report: Holiday Light Festivals

     Posted on December 9, 2016 by John Poimiroo
Celebration Swings, Celebration Plaza, California's Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Celebration Swings, Celebration Plaza, California’s Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Often thought of as winter events, most holiday light festivals actually begin in autumn. They’ve become increasingly elaborate, to the point that neighborhood holiday displays and Christmas trees, parades, caroling and ice rinks in town squares now are comparatively small and quaint.

Snowflake Lake at Columbia, California's Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Snowflake Lake at Columbia, California’s Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Mistletones, Hometown Square, California's Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Mistletones, Hometown Square, California’s Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Celebration Plaza, California's Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Celebration Plaza, California’s Great America, Santa Clara (12/3/16) John Poimiroo

This holiday season, California’s Great America in Santa Clara holds Winterfest, and Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park becomes Knott’s Merry Farm. Both are elaborate holiday-themed shows that cover up to two-thirds of the parks with every imaginable icon of the season.

At Great America, ice skaters swirl in front of the double-decked Carousel Columbia on Snowflake Lake. Snow machines blow flakes into the chill night air; St. Nick is there for family photos; there are live reindeer to pet; Mrs. Claus is in the kitchen preparing cookies; craftsmen create one-of-a-kind gifts; and Charlie Brown’s Tree Lot is just as imagined on TV Christmas specials.

The park is filled with thrills (10 major thrill and children’s rides areas operate) and music… not just the Christmas songs amplified through the park’s sound system, but at performances throughout California’s Great America, with a company of singers and dancers serenading a tree lighting that occurs several times nightly and in festive stage and street shows, called Cool Yule, Holly Jolly Trolly, Jingle Jazz, Mistletones and It’s Christmas Snoopy.

But then Great America and Knott’s are not alone. The Roaring Camp Railroads operates Holiday Lights Trains from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Dec. weekends and daily, Dec. 17 – 23. As the trains’ vintage railroad cars, adorned with thousands of colorful lights, roll along the streets of Victorian Santa Cruz, passengers sing holiday carols, sip hot spiced cider and listen to live music as Santa visits. A Chanukah Train leaves on Dec. 29.

The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim holds a number of holiday-themed happenings: the Christmas Fantasy Parade, World of Color, Disney !Viva Natividad!, Santa’s Holiday Visit, many holiday themed shows and (need I say?) Holiday Magic Fireworks.

At the San Diego Zoo, there’s Jungle Bells with millions of twinkling lights and carolers singing above the roars and cries of zoo animals. Even Sea World lights up at Christmas and is home to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and yes, you can compete in reindeer games.

Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia and Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo are transformed into winter wonderlands lit with millions of lights and thrills to scare the jelly right out of Santa’s belly.

In the Central Valley, Global Winter Wonderland at Sacramento’s CalExpo and the Tulare County Fairgrounds are mind-boggling displays of fantasy lands set in lights, plus carnival rides, ice skating and parades.

So, just because little natural fall color remains on the trees (it’s transitioning from peak to past peak along the coast), animated, cheery shows of manmade color are lighting the last days of autumn to the first days of winter, across California.

Holiday Lights Festivals, Statewide – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

 

Yosemite: Snow White, Fairytale Forest

     Posted on November 29, 2016 by John Poimiroo
Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Dead pines, Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Black oak, Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Black oak, Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Lower Yosemite Fall, Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Lower Yosemite Fall, Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Lower Yosemite Fall, Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Lower Yosemite Fall, Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Black oak, Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Black oak, Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

Yosemite Valley (11/28/16) Tracy Zhou

When snow falls in Yosemite Valley when there’s still fall color on the black oak, a fairytale forest appears.

Tracy Zhou captured it yesterday, during a visit to Yosemite Valley where the past weekend’s dusting of snow contrasts beautifully with the last leaves of autumn on the valley’s black oak.

Sadly, some of the color is provided by dead pine trees (killed by bark beetles as a result of the past four years of drought) whose lifeless orange needles still hang to the branches… lovely though discouraging.

Yosemite Valley – Peak to Past Peak – YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!