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500 Years of Beauty

Makoto Fujimoto shares these pictures of a massive Gingko biloba tree standing near Koukokuji Temple in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo.

Mike reports that the tree is 500 years old, yet its early December color still shines brightly.

  • Tokyo (131′) – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT.

Christmas Ornaments

Virginia Creeper, La Canada-Flintridge (12/25/19) Julie Kirby

Ornamented with blue berries, this Virginia Creeper provides Christmas cheer to the Southern California community of La Cañada-Flintridge.

  • La Cañada-Flintridge (1,188′) – Past Peak, You Missed it!

See You Next Autumn, Dude

  • California – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT.
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Night and Day

Moonlight Forest, LA County Arboretum (12/12/19) Frank McDonough

During this festive season, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens is beautiful both night and day.

Nightly until Jan. 12, during its Moonlight Forest event, the LA County Arboretum is illuminated with colorful lanterns while sunlit days still hang heavy with the last of LA County’s autumn color.

Here’s some of the beauty to be enjoyed. Click to enlarge images.

LA County Arboretum (12/12/19) Frank McDonough
Moonlight Forest, LA County Arboretum (12/12/19) Frank McDonough
Sunlit Forest, LA County Arboretum (12/12/19) Frank McDonough
  • LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Behold San Gabriel

Early December is when the San Gabriel Valley is said to peak each year. Appropriate, considering that – scripture records – St. Gabriel foretold the reason for the Christmas season.

As predicted, it’s peaking now with ornamental trees heralding heavy loads of yellow, chartreuse and orange-pink foliage in La Canada.

John Jackson sends these images taken along Viro Rd., which is lined with towering liquidambar, sycamore and Chinese pistache.

  • La Canada (970′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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Liquidambar Brighten, Finally

So far this autumn, Liquidambar (Sweetgum) have been disappointingly flat. Photographs received, and those I’ve seen, have lacked the vibrant, firey colors normal for this colorful ornamental tree.

Color spotter Mohammed Hossain scores a First Report from Walnut-Rowland Heights and comes to the rescue, providing these mobile phone snaps he took on a walk in his neighborhood, West of Pomona.

Mohammed says recent storms with lots of rain and crisp, cool, clear following days have refreshed the trees, causing the colors to brighten. Perhaps that’s what’s been missing in an autumn that’s been unusually dry.

He continues that the San Gabriel Mountains are now dusted with snow, providing that Chamber of Commerce image that Rose Parade viewers have come to associate with Southern California in winter. Though, this is still autumn; winter does not begin until December 21.

It’s easy to imagine how Mohammed’s walk/jog, as he described, filled his “heart and soul” with the beauty of a late autumn day that was dressed with rainbows arcing above the dazzling colors.

  • Walnut-Rowland (571′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Davis Pears and Peppers Up

Flowering pear, Davis (12/8/19) Philip Reedy

Just like Healdsburg, Davis’ pears are up. So are its peppers.

Philip Reedy was surprised by the bright color to be found in his neighborhood on a weekend walk, exclaiming, “There’s still color!”

He found Flowering pear and American pepper carrying magenta and gold color.

  • Davis – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT.

Pear Perfect in Healdsburg

Flowering pear, Healdsburg (12/7/19) Anson Davalos

Soon after non-Indians settled the Healdsburg area in the late 1850s, they found that anything grows in Sonoma County’s fertile soil.

Grapes, lumber and hops were Healdsburg’s biggest cash crops until The Volstead Act (Prohibition) eliminated commercial wine and beer making in 1919. Vineyards were then uprooted and replaced with orchards.

To replace the grapes and hops, French plums were planted in such abundance surrounding Healdsburg that the town became known as “the buckle of the prune belt.”

Plums became a huge profit crop, as prunes (dried plums) were a fruit that could be transported and had shelf life in an age when refrigeration wasn’t common.

Kelseyville, in neighboring Lake County, had a similar history, though its vineyards were replaced with pear orchards whose fruit was canned and also exported, earning Kelseyville the sobriquet, “pear capital of the world.”

Both towns began replacing orchards with vineyards, starting in the 1980s, as wine consumption increased and consumption of dried and canned fruit declined.

Colorful remnants of the region’s orchard days remain in downtown Healdsburg where pear trees (the flowering variety) line its streets. Color spotter Anson Davalos found them at peak this past weekend.

We know of no plums growing in Kelseyville, though pears remain an important product, especially when combined with wine, as noted in this Sunset magazine article.

  • Healdsburg, Sonoma County (105′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Pears

Late Autumn Storms Pave Silicon Valley With Gold

Gingko biloba, Mountain View (12/5/19) Vishal Mishra

As if the Silicon Valley wasn’t already paved with gold, late autumn is truly paving its streets with golden gingko leaves.

Silicon Valley color spotter Vishal Mishra sends these images of Gingko biloba littering the streets of Mountain View with gold.

  • Mountain View – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT.

Tujunga Canyon Gets Big

Big Tujunga Canyon, Sunland-Tujunga (12/7/19) Ken Lock

Big Tujunga Canyon is getting big above Sunland-Tujunga, reports Ken Lock.

Big Tujunga Canyon, Sunland-Tujunga (12/7/19) Ken Lock

The canyon is coursed by Big Tujunga Creek, a major Los Angeles County stream which drops from the upper San Gabriel Mountains to Big Tujunga Dam/Reservoir. Below the dam, the creek winds through the scenic canyon pictured here, then spills out of the mountains at Sunland-Tujunga and disappears into a San Fernando Valley aquifer.

Along the stream, a diverse riparian forest of winter deciduous trees flourishes, with Fremont and black cottonwood, western sycamore, bigleaf maple, blue elderberry, box elder, white alder, Southern California and Northern California black walnut, and velvet ash providing the color.

That diversity has painted the creek’s edges with green, lime, yellow and occasional spots of vermillion.

Big Tujunga Canyon, Sunland-Tujunga (12/7/19) Ken Lock
  • Big Tujunga Canyon – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!