A Late Splash of Orange

We had enough of a hard frost to fry the African blue basil in my front yard.  But then our weather progressed from balmy winter days to muggy winter days.

I can see this 'Georgia Gem' blueberry from my bedroom window. Wilbur B-Diddy Bobo likes it.

I am really appreciative of the fall leaf color that is hanging in.  Right now the blueberries are my favorites.  I try to never draw a landscape plan without using a few blueberries.  As landscape plants alone they have lovely late winter flowers, nice arching stems and day glow orange fall leaves.  Then, of course, the tasty fruit is there for me and the birds.

I’ve noticed several rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium ashei) in my neighborhood with very showy fall color.  My rabbiteye blueberries here have pretty good color but my showiest blueberry is a variety called ‘Georgia Gem’.

‘Georgia Gem’ is actually a southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).  Here in the first week of December the leaves are a startling coppery orange.  They show no sign of dropping any time soon.

Woody strolled on a shag carpet of cypress straw last weekend.

This has also been a stellar year for bald cypress color.  It has been so fine, in fact, that I’ve been embarrassed to remember that I used to think that bald cypress didn’t have very good fall color.  I’ve officially apologized to cypress trees everywhere because I was just wrong!

After the hickory next door lost its leaves, we could see the Earth Day cypress glowing like a beacon even though it is well over 200 feet from our deck.

The Earth Day cypress was planted by my students during an Earth Day celebration at Meridian Community College where I used to teach.    Two years later I walked out the back door of my classroom one day to find the poor tree ripped out of the ground and lying there with roots exposed.

After walking past it for two or three days, I decided to take it home.  It was about 8′ tall but was so dehydrated and emaciated that I could carry it by myself.  Richard made fresh clean cuts on the roots where the tree had been ripped from the ground and we planted it in our wet area.

The Earth Day cypress lived to tell the tale.  It took a lick or two during Katrina but is about 40′ tall now.

My bald cypress trees are still holding a little of their bronzy foliage.   Most of the leaves are in a colorful pool beneath the trees.  Walking through the cypress grove is like walking on a soft spongy orange carpet.

It’s a soggy dreary day today.  But… no worries – orange color shows up well on cloudy days.

When I pass my bedroom window on the west side, I can see the Earth Day cypress.   When I turn toward the south, I am treated to a view of the ‘Georgia Gem’.

Thanks to these two – it’s a lovely day!


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3 Responses to“A Late Splash of Orange”

  1. yardflow says:

    Thanks, Tom. It has indeed been a fun project. We are sitting on 820 pale coneflower plugs that will probably be planted in late winter. The seed came from a local site.

  2. marc says:

    always good to hear your story!
    blueberries rock!

  3. Tom Carmichael says:

    Hey Gail. Saw your post on prairie planting at West Alabama. Sounds like lots o’ horticulture fun. Glad to see you getting to do stuff that MCC not always an oportunity to do so.

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