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November ends, not the color

LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia (11/28/18) Frank McDonough

Today is the last day of November, but there’s still another 20 days of autumn ahead.

Frank McDonough of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden demonstrates what’s ahead in today’s post.

California’s arboreta and botanic gardens are in their own, presently, with holiday displays blending with final bursts of fall color. To find an arboretum near you, CLICK HERE

  • Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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LAte Start

Moonlight Forest Display, LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Arcadia (11/27/18) Frank McDonough

The LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden seems to be having a LAte start this autumn, though December is always when LA shows its best.

A colorful addition this autumn/winter season is Moonlight Forest, a display of magical lanterns that will glow at The Arboretum, Wed. – Sun. nights until Jan. 6.

Most of the color to be seen at The Arboretum is happening at night, right now. Though color spotter Frank McDonough sends this portfolio of what fall color is now appearing in the garden. 

  • LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden – Patchy to Near Peak (10-75%) GO NOW!
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From Landscape to Moonscape

In a day, most of Malibu Canyon was transformed from a verdant landscape to a moonscape of ash and charred tree limbs.

Mark Harding found “a mix of devastation and beauty” there that was scorched by the Woolsey Fire that ignited on Nov. 8.

He found areas within Malibu Canyon, along Piuma Road, Malibu Creek and Malibu Creek State Park painted fluorescent pink with fire retardant or holding on to the last of autumnal color. 

  • Malibu Canyon – Peak to Past Peak, You Almost Missed It.
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On a Wing and a Prayer

Black-hooded Parakeets in Western Sycamore, King Gillette Ranch, Santa Monica Mountains NRA (11/24/18) Kathy Jonokuchi

The recent Woolsey Fire incinerated 86% of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. In some areas, only a wing and a prayer avoided the devastation.

Black-hooded Parakeets (Nanday Conures – Aratinga nenday) were able to fly away as the fire raged. Southern California color spotter, Kathy Jonokuchi found them perched on Western sycamore at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas on Saturday.

The ranch, once owned by razor magnate King C. Gillette was spared being engulfed by the fire. Its grounds and venerable trees are now an enclave for the Nandays.

Raindrops on a Sweetgum leaf, Los Angeles (11/24/18) Bruce Wendler

Jonokuchi reported that the ranch was one of the few spared by the Woolsey Fire. “Paramount Ranch, Peter Strauss Ranch and Malibu Creek State Park” were burned. The fire even scorched Leo Carrillo State Beach, leaving only lifeguard towers unburned.

Her home, just four miles from where the Hill Fire started, was untouched. Kathy said her neighborhood was the only one in the area that wasn’t evacuated, though surrounding mountains are now covered in gray ash, brightened by a few spots by splashes of bright pink fire retardant and remaining autumn color.

Rains this weekend dampened the southland, as seen in Bruce Wendler’s image of a Sweetgum leaf on the hood of his car. 

  • King Gillette Ranch, Santa Monica Mountains NRA – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
Leo Carrillo State Beach, Malibu (11/24/18) Kathy Jonokuchi
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A Place of Many Identities

Big Tujunga Creek, Sunland-Tujunga (11/17/18) Ken Lock

Sunland-Tujunga is a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles by the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in the Crescenta Valley.

Which is to say, Sunland-Tujunga is a place of many identities.

Though, in late autumn it is known for its beauty, as captured in this First Report by Ken Lock using a Samsung Note 9.

Peak yellow, orange and gold fall color is seen zigzagging beside Big Tujunga Creek through Pipe Canyon, Ybarra Canyon and Stone Canyon, heading toward Wildwood.

Native to the area are Frémont cottonwood, bigleaf maple, box elder, chokecherry, California ash, California sycamore, white alder, California black walnut, California buckeye and various willows. 

  • Sunland-Tujunga, Los Angeles (1,512′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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First Fleeting Colors of Fall

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Arcadia (10/18/18) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Arcadia (10/18/18) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Arcadia (10/18/18) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Arcadia (10/18/18) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Arcadia (10/18/18) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Arcadia (10/18/18) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Arcadia (10/18/18) Frank McDonough

Among the last places in California to show fall color are the state’s many arboretums and botanical gardens.

That’s because they are both often near sea level and because they are filled with exotic species whose internal autumnal clock is conditioned for a different latitude.

From the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden, color spotter Frank McDonough reports that the first fleeting colors of fall are now appearing. 

  • Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden – Just Starting (0-10%)
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Mulholland Miracle

California sycamore, Mulholland Highway, Santa Monica Mountains (10/6/18) Peter Asco

California sycamore, Mulholland Highway, Santa Monica Mountains (10/6/18) Peter Asco

California sycamore, Mulholland Highway, Santa Monica Mountains (10/6/18) Peter Asco

“Following the black walnut’s fall wake up call, come the majestic sycamore … showcasing colors rarely seen in So Cal native flora,” Peter Asco reported.

As Peter scouted Mulholland Highway, in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, on a “perfect, partially cloudy day” this past weekend, he “came upon a scenery alien to our landscape, a grove of imposing 100 foot high sycamore.”

They were, “… no longer displaying their usual drab mud-brown seasonal shift, but dressed instead in orange, yellow, green, and red, definitely a miracle!”

“The native California sycamore (Platanus racemosais a true beauty at maturity.

Along the coast the gnarled, twisted, flaking trunks of ancient California sycamore are often distorted into Seussian shapes. I like to think they were what inspired Southern California’s Dr. Seuss to draw trees that way. Certainly, they are one of the most sculpturally fascinating trees in a state full of them.

Not all California sycamore bend and twist in this way, though all are beautiful and Peter scores a First Report for his photographs of Near Peak California sycamore along the Mulholland Highway.

Will miracles never cease. 

Mulholland Highway, Santa Monica Mountains NRA, Malibu – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

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Squirrels Strip California Black Walnuts

California Black Walnut and Fox Squirrel, Bel Air  (9/3/18) Peter Asco

California Black Walnut, Bel Air (9/3/18) Peter Asco

Early in September, along Southern California’s coast, squirrels begin stripping “the sparse but beautiful native California Black Walnut (juglans californica) of their walnuts, Peter Asco reports. They “take full advantage of this crop, stripping the trees of every single walnut in a period of two weeks.”

Exploring “one of BelAir’s undisturbed canyons within the Santa Monica Mountains,” Peter came upon this rarely-shot autumn scene and scored a first report by photographing fall color up Bel Air’s wild canyons. 

Patchy to Near Peak (10-75%) – California Black Walnut, Santa Monica Mountains, Bel Air.

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The Tail End

Willows, Alabama Hills, Eastern Sierra (1/1/18) Bruce Wendler

Fall color is still being glimpsed around California as the tail end of autumn’s show lingers.

Bruce Wendler found willows glowing yellow-orange at the intersection of Movie Road and Whitney Portal Road and commented that “Some of the Primrose Brush and Reeds turn a little red in the winter, so don’t give up on color in January.”

Willows, Turtle Pond, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

Tabeuia impetiginosa, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

Anita Baldwin Statue, Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

Willows are also providing bright color in Arcadia at the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens. A broad variety of willows grow throughout California, providing the state’s longest display of fall color.

The show has been so long-lasting that willows, gingko biloba and wax trees (Toxicodendron succadeneum – a variety of poison sumac – look but don’t touch) are still holding color while, nearby, pink trumpet trees (Tabueia impetiginosa) are heavy with winter blooms.

If you are dead set on finding fall color in winter, the best opportunities to see it are in locations at the lowest elevations (deserts, islands) and where exotic varieties can be found (arboretums). Otherwise, the show is now mostly past peak.

 

 

 

LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

Toxicodendron succedaneum, San Gabriel Mountains, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baldwin Lake, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aloes and Nuxia tree, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

Gingko biloba, Herb garden, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aloe Trail, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incandescent dusk, LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (1/4/18) Frank McDonough

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Parade of Roses and Autumn

Tournament of Roses, Pasadena (1/1/18) Frank McDonough

Tournament of Roses, Pasadena (1/1/18) Frank McDonough

Each New Year’s Day, the world marvels at the amazing floral floats made for the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena.

What often isn’t seen in the worldwide coverage of the parade is the lingering fall color to be seen along the streets of Pasadena.

Los Angeles County color spotter Frank McDonough captured some of it and shares it with us.

Pasadena – Peak to Past Peak – You Almost Missed It.