The Interlude Is Over

By Boak Wiesner

Blazing colors of fall are in full swing this beautiful morning. The crispness of the air seems to make every leaf, every flower stand out. I find myself agreeing completely with Prof. Leopold’s assertion that the other months are merely a “fitting interlude between Octobers.” It’s gorgeous!

dsc_0081In the brightness, the vivid red of the ends of branches impresses me with their uniqueness. On close inspection, it seems that the colored tips occur on branches that have few leaves. What goes on, physiologically, within those branches, to create these bursts of scarlet among the green?

dsc_0082How exciting it is that the new Eastern Drive is finally open! A new bridge spans yet another ravine here at the Arb, which terrain seems to me the most significant landscape feature. Hanging down I find another instance of the interplay between light, shadow, and color. I see that the leaves on the outside, as it were, are much darker, while the ones that are further down and hence, more shaded, show much less color.

dsc_0100The leaves of Great Merrybells catch my eye, their striking pattern of parallel veins telling me they’re monocots, like grasses, but also show perfoliate leaves, in some cases. There never was a better field of study than botany for sheer abundance of jargon!

dsc_0106What’s this? It looks like a mace, the weapon a knight might use to bash in the head of an enemy. But really, it’s the seed pod of Purple Coneflower, whose lavender petals graced the edge of the walk into the Woodland Garden last summer and now, obviously with these seeds, will again next year.

dsc_0119Boak Wiesner is a Minnesota Naturalist Volunteer

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