California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

LA Lights Up Following Cooler Weather and Rain

Fri ,22/11/2013
California Wild Grape, Baldwin Lagoon, LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

California Wild Grape, Baldwin Lagoon, LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Colder temperatures and light rain have caused an intensification of color across Los Angeles County, as evidenced by these photos provided by Frank McDonough a botanical information consultant at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Gardens.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Los Angeles County - Reports from Southern California indicate perfect fall color conditions with crystal clear skies and bright color.

San Gabriel Mountains, seen from Talac Knoll (11/22/13)

San Gabriel Mountains, seen from Talac Knoll (11/22/13)

Gingko tree, near Rose Garden (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Gingko tree, near Rose Garden (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle and Sumac at LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle and Sumac at LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Warm, Dry Year Slows Southland Show

Thu ,14/11/2013
Pomegranate Bush and Japanese Maple (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

Pomegranate Bush and Japanese Maple (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

Color spotter Frank McDonough of the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens attributes a warm, dry year to “erratic” fall color.  That certainly could be the case, though the spots of color provided to us by Frank show bright and intense color at the Arboretum, so far.  Also, this week we received shots from Mt. Palomar that showed long-lasting color among the oaks.  We’re betting that LA County will continue to develop into December.

Eastern Red Oak, LA County Arboretum (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

Eastern Red Oak, LA County Arboretum (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – LA County Arboretum - Warm, dry weather has tricked the trees, causing them to show sporadically and late in Southern California.

Tulip tree, LA County Arboretum (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

Tulip tree, LA County Arboretum (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Flame leafed sumac and Nandina domestica (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Flame leafed sumac and Nandina domestica (11/14/13) Frank McDonough

Exotic Species Color Up in LA & Orange Counties

Wed ,06/11/2013
Crepe myrtles, Bauer Lawn, LA County Arboretum  (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtles, Bauer Lawn, LA County Arboretum (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

California Fall Color has observed over the years that species change color according to their own internal clock.  That’s certainly occurring at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens in Arcadia, where Frank McDonough reports the color change there “has been sporadic and uneven.”

Crepe myrtle, lagerstroemia indica (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle, lagerstroemia indica (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

The most reliable species, Ginkgo biloba and Liquidambar, “have yet to reach full color.”

Color spotter Son H. Nguyen posted the following montage on Facebook and commented, “Liquidambar is amazing in Orange County right now. I’ve never seen them this beautiful before. I’ve only seen them mostly turn yellow. But this year, there are many different hue from orange, yellow, red, deep red and even pink.”

Liquidambar (11/4/13) Son H Nguyen

Liquidambar (11/4/13) Son H Nguyen

Though, McDonough cautions that Liquidambars “have been under attack” from a combination of a  new pest, the Polyphagous shot hole borer, and a new disease to Southern California, Bacterial Leaf Scorch, “that may eliminate them from the Southern California landscape.”

Tulip tree, liriodendron tulipifera (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Tulip tree, liriodendron tulipifera (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Liquidambar have one of the more dramatic displays of flame orange, yellow and red and are a favorite of landscapers.  Sadly, due to pests and diseases, Frank opins that “this may be one of the last years to see them turn color, here.”  Until that happens, head to Southern California’s arboretums for the best in So. Cal.

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and Japanese fountain grass (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and Japanese fountain grass (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

California wild grape (11/4/13 Frank McDonough

California wild grape (11/4/13 Frank McDonough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and crepe myrtle (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and crepe myrtle (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Honey locust, LA County Arboretum (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Honey locust, LA County Arboretum (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens - Crepe myrtle are at peak; tulip tree are 30 – 50% of peak near the tram stop; Japanese birch are magnificent near the turtle pond; California wild grape near the tule pond are now yellow and will soon be brilliant red.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Los Angeles County - Exotic Sweet Gum (liquidambar) are at peak in gardens and along streets throughout Los Angeles County.  Pests and disease are afflicting the trees, however, which may not survive another year.  So, go now to enjoy their display of varied color.

LA Times Gives CalifFallColor A Nod

Wed ,09/10/2013

Chris Erskine of the travel desk at the LA Times posted a nod to California Fall Color for our reporting of what’s happening at Mammoth Lakes this week.  CLICK HERE to read the story.

Big Bear Lake Logs In

Wed ,02/10/2013

Color spotter Dan McKernan of Big Bear Lake provides this first report of autumn from the San Bernardino Mountains, above Los Angeles.

15 – 30% – Big Bear Lake - The color surrounding Big Bear Lake is now between 20 and 25% change.  This area often turns quickly.  So, peak could arrive anytime during the coming two weeks.  Keep checking back for reports from Dan and look for local spotter reports on Facebook.

Los Angeles Times Leads Readers to Fall Color

Fri ,20/09/2013

We often hear it said that there is no change of seasons in California.  One spotter recently said a friend describes California has having two seasons: green and gold.  Well, pardners, that’s pure bunk, fiddle-dee-dee and nonsense.  You just have to know when and where to see the change of seasons.  Apologies if the coarseness of our previous exclamation has shocked any of our more easily offended readers, but when it comes to defending the spectacular change of seasons to be seen here, we get downright “miffed.”

Clearly others around our state go to similar lengths to do the same.  Recently, Wendy Abrams, writing for the Los Angeles Times, drove a doubting Thomas from Vermont (we don’t actually know if her New England friend’s name was Thomas) to the Eastern Sierra to prove Wendy’s assertion that California has great fall color, too.

Wendy hit it right, as this year the color – Good Golly, Miss Molly! – is turning earlier than ever.  Follow this link to see what Wendy and her friend saw: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-california-fall-colors-20130917,0,6468626.photogallery

LA County Arboretum & Botanic Garden Still Burning

Fri ,14/12/2012
Wild California Grape, LA County Arboretum (12/14/12) Frank McDonough

Wild California Grape clambering on bamboo, LA County Arboretum (12/14/12) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/14/12) Frank McDonough

Liquidambar styraciflua: Burgundy, Festival and Palo Alto (12/14/12) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/14/12) Frank McDonough

Meyberg Falls: [from left] ficus benjamina “variegata” and gold and orange examples of Japanese maple [acer palmatum] (12/14/12) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/14/12) Frank McDonough

A mix of color still showing at the LA County arboretum, including liquidambar and red maple (12/14/12) Frank McDonough

Frank McDonough of the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden sends these shots taken today.

With a week of autumn still remaining, the color is still intense at the LA County Arboretum, which remains a refuge of serenity separated from the  pell-mell pace of holiday shopping.  To sense the inward peace of this season, head to Arcadia.

75 – 100% – LA County Arboretum & Botanic Garden – Flame colors continue to burn as winter approaches.

Indian Summer Across California

Mon ,05/11/2012

Hakone Gardens (11/4/12) Barbara Steinberg

Warm days (80s) have returned to California this week, though rain and snow are predicted for the coming weekend.  A return to warmer weather is actually just fine for sustained fall color, since warm days and cool nights intensify color.

Barbara Steinberg sends this lovely photograph of the Hakone Gardens in San Jose and Scott, a hiker who blogs at http://one-thousand-miles.blogspot.com/ reports orange and gold appearing among the black oak along the Observatory trail on Mt. Palomar in Southern California.

We were in West Hollywood, Los Angeles and Pasadena this past weekend and saw very little color change among the few deciduous trees evident, there.  Pleasant temperatures in the 70s and 80s will provide a much appreciated Indian Summer across California this week.

LA County Starts To Burn

Thu ,25/10/2012

California Wild Grape, LA County Arboretum (10/20/12) Frank McDonough

The LA County Arboretum with its spectacular variety of trees has begun reporting precocious color among the Chinese pistache, California wild grapes, and Nyssa sylvatica.  Color spotter (and resident botanist) Frank McDonough reports, ” Things are starting to look up here at the L.A. County Arboretum & Botanic Garden.”  We look forward to Frank’s photos and reports.  If you’re from Southern California and would like to contribute, click on “Comment” below or post on our Facebook page (click “f” at upper left).

Chinese pistache (10/20/12) Frank McDonough

Signs of Autumn and of Winter

Fri ,07/09/2012

I’m often asked whether Autumn will arrive early or late, whether it will be long or short lasting, or whether the color will be spectacular or dull.  The signs of autumn begin in autumn when individual specimens turn color sooner than other nearby trees, shrubs or grasses.  That’s happened this year.  Our color spotters say they’re seeing signs, but they disagree on what they mean.  Here are reports across California, from top to bottom.

Plumas County – Emily Webb, the owner of Emily’s Garden in Quincy and a resident of the Indian Valley says her end of summer tradition is to “go out and try to collect acorns, which is tough because the squirrels always get them first. Which is supposed to mean that it’s going to be a long winter. This year however, I beat them to it as there were nice acorns everywhere! Perhaps we are in store for a mild winter? I’ve also noticed some leaves turning already on my daily drive up Hwy 89. This seems a bit early to me…but I can’t say why.”

Jeanne Brovelli, owner of Las Casa Bella Furniture in Quincy, makes pine needle baskets and says, “typically there are new pine needles on the ground for gathering in late August & September after some good winds. So far, I haven’t seen many at all so even though it is still early, I think we are going to have a late fall and probably a late winter too.”

Virginia Creeper (9/7/12) Richard McCutcheon

Color spotter Richard McCutcheon who has provided great photos and reports to this blog over the years says, “I can judge when the colors are going to turn by my neighbor’s Virginia Creeper. I would say we are almost a month away from some real pretty colors,” in the northern Sierra.

Janice Robinson-Haman of the Gold Pan Lodge in Quincy reports that the “deer herds seem to be HUGE this year. My Grandpa always told me that meant a rough winter, as there would be extra babies so that enough would survive. Big herds have been going through my yard in Beckwourth, and just saw a big herd crossing A13 at Lake Almanor.  The bears are also very, very busy this year, surely that means something?”

Ceci Reynolds, owner of a rental cottage on Spanish Creek in Quincy, says, “Last year my Black oaks produced very small acorns and we had little precipitation – a ‘mild winter’ – this year they are humongous.  So, I’m predicting lots of snow. Besides I have a couple of cords of Doug fir that hasn’t been split yet, so surely I’ll need it!”

Botanist James Belsher-Howe of the Plumas National Forest says he really can’t predict when the leaves will start changing, because it depends on such a combination of things, but he did say that even though we had a dry winter, the leaves in areas tied to water will be the same as usual. We may, though, see a difference in the oaks and other trees in dryer areas. He predicts the timing for those areas may be a bit earlier than usual. He has noticed that choke cherries are already starting to turn in Quincy, and that’s probably because of the previous dry winter.

The Feather River Land Trust’s Karen Kleven reports spotting wild rhubarb turning red along Spanish Creek in Quincy.  Indian Rhubarb is one of California’s brilliantly colorful ground plants, best seen along creek beds in the northern Sierra.

Color spotter Karen Moritz reports “very little color” in Plumas County, as yet.  She said the nights are just cool, not cold as yet (warm days and cold nights intensify the color, though it is less daylight that triggers the change).  She expects color to start appearing on schedule during the last week of September, first of October, which makes it pretty easy to plan a fall color trip there.  The excellent guide, “Fall Colors of Plumas County” can be downloaded and printed from www.plumascounty.org (click “Awesome Autumn” button).  Localized reports are also posted on the site at the end of September.  0 – 15% – look to the drainages for the first signs of color.

Mono County – Fall color often shows first along the ground… grasses and shrubs that inhabit drainages can provide some of the most delicious eye candy of the season.  Carolyn Webb, reporting from the Virginia Lakes Resort in Mono County (Eastern Sierra)  at 9,770′ says drainages are showing color and lime is beginning to appear in the aspen along Virginia Lakes Road, south of Bridgeport.  Consider this to be one of the first areas to peak, about two to three weeks away.  0 – 15% – beginning to show color among the aspen.  The free Fall Color Guide to the Eastern Sierra is available online at www.monocounty.org.

Los Angeles County – The coastal community of Santa Monica seems an unlikely place to find fall color, though it can be beautiful, as the city has 20 public parks and more than 420 acres of public open space to explore.  Kelly Nagle reports that species found in abundance include exotic liquidambars (native to eastern North America and tropical areas of Mexico and Central America).  The firey color of these trees is dazzling.  Crape myrtles add ruby color, Jacarandas with their vibrant purple/blue flowers burst forth in color twice yearly: April/May and happily for leaf peepers in November and December.  Where else do autumn colors mix warm reds and yellows with blue on foliage , but in Southern California?  Other spectacular trees in Santa Monica are the impressively sized London Plane trees that shower falling leaves and cheerily yellow Ginkgos, lining boulevards.  In the Santa Monica Mountains, sycamore, Fremont cottonwood, willows, California black walnut and poison oak glow yellow-green, gold, auburn and crimson.  0 – 15% – LA County shows last along the coast from late November to early December.

Making a statement at Orchard Hill Country Inn in San Diego County (File Photo)

San Diego County – Julian is one of the few places in Southern California where broad areas of natural color change occurs.  It’s due to Julian’s 4,200′ elevation and the fact that there are many oak trees studding the area’s mountainous landscape.  Color spotter Bobbi Zane advises that good places to the colore are along Hwy. 79 through the Cuyamaca Mountains, driving along the winding roads of Pine Hills, and along Farmer Road from town to the Menghini Winery.  However, the show is still a few weeks away.  Bobbi recommends “early October, peaking at the end of the month.”  In addition to the oaks, which provide orange-yellow color, there are pistach that turn bright red, and birch that become a firey deep red and gold.  Besides, a trip to Julian is never complete without picking up one of their famous, freshly baked pies.  0 – 15% three to four weeks away from showing.