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LA County Owns December

Viburnum, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens (11/28/17) Frank McDonough

Cotoneaster carry late autumn berries, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens (11/28/17) Frank McDonough

The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens in Arcadia owns December.

Over recent years, California Fall Color has consistently received reports and photographs of autumn foliage from this arboretum between mid November and mid December, but it is early December when fall color there is most beautiful.

That is largely consistent among coastal arboretums and botanic gardens, including the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley, Descanso Gardens, Huntington Botanical Gardens, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Balboa Park Botanical Garden and Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden. Though, not all feature as broad a range of varieties with fall color.

At the LA County Arboretum, Frank McDonough, its Botanical Information Specialist and one of our perennial color spotters, will be leading a Fall Foliage Walking Tour of the LA County Arboretum on Saturday, Dec. 2. He worries, however, that this year’s fall color is “way late.” Warm temperatures and dry skies have kept the color from developing, as seen in his photos of cotoneaster and crepe myrtle.

Crepe myrtle show patchy color, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens (11/28/17) Frank McDonough

Frank, who has recorded the beauty of autumn there for years, will be speaking about what triggers the change among the broad mix of foliage to be enjoyed at the LA County Arboretum, including: gingko biloba, fishtail gingko, Eastern white oak, horse chestnut, Japanese maple, Japanese lacquer trees, Daimyo oak, crepe myrtle, sweet gum (liquidambar), sour gum, red maple, Eastern redbud, American elm, Chinese tallow, Chinese parasol trees, Chinese pistache, birch, pomegranate, cotoneaster, California fan palm, tulip trees, sticks on fire, pin oak, Chinaberry, Jerusalem thorn, blaze maple, horned maple, California wild grape, flame leaf sumac and California fan palms.

So, as December arrives, peak color does as well, though this autumn it is late in appearing at the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens in Arcadia.

LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Arcadia – Patchy

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Autumn Blooms

Pink Floss-Silk Tree, Southern California (10/11/17) Kathy Jonokuchi

Pink Floss-Silk Tree, Southern California (10/11/17) Kathy Jonokuchi

Color spotter Kathy Jonokuchi shared these images on our Facebook page (@CalifFallColor) of the Pink Floss-Silk tree, an exotic that blooms in mid autumn.

It is another aspect of fall color that is seen only in California and other Mediterranean climates, during autumn.

 

 

 

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Spotting Color: Angeles National Forest

Bigleaf maple, Vincent Gulch (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

Pasadenan Naresh Satyan describes the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California as not truly a fall color hotspot, though like all of California’s mountain ranges, there are exceptional spots of bright color.

Bigleaf maple, San Gabriel National Monument (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

Bigleaf maple in the chapparal, San Gabriel National Monument (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

Bigleaf maple, San Gabriel National Monument (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

Poison oak, San Gabriel National Monument (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

Poison oak, San Gabriel National Monument (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

He reports that the few bigleaf maple are at or near peak color are found between 4000’ and 6000′.

The Sheep Mountain Wilderness in San Gabriel National Monument along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River and its tributaries provides the best color.

“It is a remote area with very few trails, but the maples are accessible along the Mine Gulch trail from Vincent Gap (Vincent Gulch Divide) on the Angeles Crest Highway. There is plenty of poison oak this year in very beautiful shades of pink and red, at peak now at elevations near 5000′ and moving down,” Naresh states.

As we’ve declared previously, look but don’t touch!

Sheep Mountain Wilderness, San Gabriel National Monument (4,000-6,000’) – Near Peak to Peak GO NOW!

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Out for a Ride? Try San Gabriel Canyon

San Gabriel River Trail (9/30/17) Steve Shinn

A popular, paved bike/hiking trail that runs 38.6 miles from Azusa to Long Beach is the San Gabriel River Trail.

In places, the trail is speckled (at various times) with fall color, including sycamore, alder, oak and – right now – brilliant red poison oak. While poison oak isn’t something you want to touch, it is beautiful to the eye.

Color spotter Steve Shinn scores a First Report on this route. On Saturday, he rode a 7-mile section of the trail, starting from one of the trail’s parking lots, 14 miles from Azusa, off I-210.

The path Steve took traveled up a gentle grade with “lots of ripe, native Hollyleaf Cherries, some deer, many kinds of birds (Steve saw a Kingfisher working the river), lots of Sister butterflies and others.”

To park, you must have an Adventure Pass on your windshield. Take plenty of water along, as there is no drinking water, just fish, in the river.

San Gabriel River Trail (610′ to 0′) – Patchy (10-50%) – Poison oak are peaking.

Whoomp! There It Is!

Liquidambar, West Hollywood (9/30/17) LA Leaf Peeper

Tag Team oughta be singing, “Whoomp, there it is!” whenever we post a shot of the West Hollywood liquidambar, submitted by LA Leaf Peeper.

The tree is a scraggly one. Since LA Leaf Peeper last sent a picture of it, the venerable specimen appears to have lost a few limbs and looks the worse for wear… sorta like some silver screen starlet whose red carpet days are long past.

And yet, the West Hollywood liquidambar has been consistently one of the earliest reported examples of early color in California. That’s because liquidambar are runway ready and often dressed in splashes of auburn, gold and orange.

So, though it’s not “drop-your-jaw, Charlize-Theron gorgeous.” The West Hollywood tree still deserves a few flashbulbs popping. Thanks LA Leaf Peeper.

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Liquidambar – A California Favorite

Liquidambar, Walnut/Diamond Bar (9/25/17) Del Hossain

Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum) is one of those ornamental trees that can’t wait for autumn to arrive.

It often begins exhibiting, bright reds, burgundies, yellows and oranges in flaming profusion in mid-summer.

More than any other tree, it generates reports that autumn is arriving early, just because it begins showing early fall color. Its brilliant color explains why it is one of the most commonly-planted deciduous trees.

The sweet gum is an American tree, though not native to California. It’s found growing naturally in the eastern and southeastern U.S., in Mexico and Central America.

There are 13 cultivars (a type of cultivated plant) of sweet gum (Burgundy, Festival, Gumball, Parasol… even the funny-sounding Goduzam and Morplesdon among them). In California, the Palo Alto is the favorite, appreciated for its flame color and autumn glow.

From Los Angeles County, color spotter Del Hossain was out for an evening walk last night. Inspired by an orange-purple sunset, he was further dazzled by the color within a liquidambar urban forest planted along Pathfinder Rd. that was exhibiting complementary color.

True to its reputation, while native trees are struggling to get going in the Sierra, the exotic liquidambar styraciflua is unashamed to blush early.

Diamond Bar (696′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

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Heading Toward A New Year as Fall Color Fades

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!

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Pointillistic Impressionism at Autumn’s End

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!

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LA’s Descanso Gardens Becomes an Enchanted Forest

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!

 

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LA County Arboretum Puts On Its Holiday Best

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!