Gardens in Other Climates

wrightsquaregingerplantsbenchessavannahga18dec2016

Recently I’ve travelled in Savannah, GA, Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, at the northern end of Florida, and Jekyll Island, GA. As I walked trails, Savannah’s city squares and botanical garden, and looked at plantings in yards and public spaces in these locales, I couldn’t help but notice again how different not only the vegetation along trails is from what I see in northern New England, but also how different are the plants in the created gardens.

This small succulent garden, on the corner of Jasmine and Fletcher streets in Fernandina Beach, across the road from the beach, was a favourite; the sign said it was installed by Rockstar Gardens (get it?).

succulentgardenjasmineandfletcherbfernandinabeachfl22dec2016 succulentgardenjasmineandfletcherfernandinabeachfl22dec2016 succulentgardenjasmineandfletcherpurpleflowerfernandinabeachfl22dec2016

Although the garden has an exotic, tropical appeal to me, some of the plants look not unlike the sedums and ice plants in my own garden, 1,200 miles away:

Delosperma 'Jewel of Desert Topaz' ice plant
Delosperma ‘Jewel of Desert Topaz’ ice plant
Sedum 'Hab Grey'
Sedum ‘Hab Grey’
Sedum cauticola, with oregano and lupine
Sedum cauticola, with oregano and lupine
sedum whose name I can't recall
sedum whose name I can’t recall
Sedum selskianum 'Spirit'
Sedum selskianum ‘Spirit’

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In Savannah, in some of the downtown squares as well as in the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, I saw Giant Leopard Plant (Ligularia tussilaginea ‘Gigantea’), which is very similar to the Ligularia stenocephala ‘Little Rocket’ we plant in our gardens (some do; I haven’t) in New England. 

Ligularia tussilaginea 'Gigantea' in a downtown Savannah square
Ligularia tussilaginea ‘Gigantea’ in a downtown Savannah square
Ligularia tussilaginea 'Gigantea' at Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, outside Savannah
Ligularia tussilaginea ‘Gigantea’ at Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, outside Savannah

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This planter, on a street in Savannah, is more familiar than not:

herbsplanterssidewalksavannahga31dec2016

The sage, rosemary, lavender, and (I think) thyme or oregano in these pots is similar to what’s in my herb container in NH — with rosemary, tarragon, and parsley — except that mine is now covered in snow:

As is the sage in my sunroom border:

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On Bull Street in Savannah (and probably elsewhere in town) there are small plantings along the sidewalk that include edible plants and others — I think I see rosemary in the top photo here, and perhaps Brussels sprouts, though it’s probably ornamental cabbage; plus the lush foxtail fern, and penta, lantana, and ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbia (in the bottom photo), all annuals here, the latter of which never seems to survive even a few weeks for me.

herbedibleplantingsidewalkbullstsavannahga18dec2016herbedibleplantingsidewalkbbullstsavannahga18dec2016

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In the Jekyll Island historic district, there’s this planter with dead nettle (Lamium sp.), which is also perennial here in NH, and it looks like perhaps a heuchera or a tiarella, also perennials in NH (and tiarella grows wild):

My dead nettle and tiarella:

purple dead nettle and yellow archangel in shade garden, June 2016
purple dead nettle and yellow archangel in shade garden, June 2016
tiarella in bloom, June 2016
tiarella in bloom, June 2016

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In the market/shops area of Jekyll Island, there are containers of neon, tropical plants, quite different from what’s normally seen here in northern New England even in summer as hothouse annuals, much less in December:

plantersshopsjekyllislandga31dec2016
Duranta ‘Goldmound’, Phormium ‘Cha Cha’, Diascia species (with orange flowers), Brassica oleracea cultivars (kale) including B. oleacea ‘Peacock White’ and a Cordyline, possibly ‘Red Sensation’ (the red grassy looking plant).
tropicalplanteroutsidekennedysjekyllislandga27dec2016
Strelitzia nicolai (sometimes calle Wild Banana), Matthiola incana double cultivar (stock), and Brassica oleracea cultivar (ornamental cabbage).

(IDs for two planters above are by someone else, not me!)

By contrast, here’s one of the containers at The Fells, in Newbury, NH, this past June, with coleus (an annual here) and dahlias, which have to be dug up, stored in a basement or other cool dark spot, and replanted each year; and by no means will they bloom outside in December:

redflowerincontaineroldgardenfells27june2016

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Finally, in downtown Fernandina Beach, just before Christmas there were containers of tropical canna lilies, hardy in zones 8-12 but not in my zone 4 or 5:

orangecannaliliesstreetplanterfernandinabeachfl22dec2016

Since I can’t have canna lilies in my climate, I’ve planted crocosmia bulbs, which are hardy here and provide a showy tropical display that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies for several months:

 

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Just looking at these photos almost convinces me that spring is just around the corner. Almost.

M2E71L216-216R408B332

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(Featured image: ginger plants in Wright Square in Savannah, December 2016)

The Dead Months

Go to the winter woods: listen there; look, watch, and ‘the dead months’ will give you a subtler secret than any you have yet found in the forest. ~ Fiona Macleod

True, not much blooms in December in northern New England (witch hazel is an exception), but there is still a lot to notice in the winter woods — and in the winter fields, streams, lakes, marshes, hillsides, town landscapes.

Some photos taken in the garden, on a walk in Concord NH, and at the nearby lake, from 1-10 December:

In the garden …

Pieris japonica by day and night (5 December) —

Animals on the motion camera —

Fox (2nd, 4th, and 6th Dec)

Deer (1st, 3rd, and 7th Dec)

Birds (mourning doves, blue jays, cardinals) and Squirrels (2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th Dec)

Other garden photos —

6:30 a.m. 1 December - rain puddle on motion camera
6:30 a.m. 1 December – rain puddle on motion camera
5 Dec - bark of dogwood shrub
5 Dec – bark of dogwood shrub
6 Dec - veggie garden
6 Dec – veggie garden

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On the Winant Trails, Concord NH … 3rd December

large oak tree
large oak tree
moody field
moody field
water reflection in oak leaves
water reflection in oak leaves
beech leaves
beech leaves
club moss strobili
club moss strobili
very white birch tree
very white birch tree

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At the lake …

Stump cairn (1st and 10th Dec) —

Water inflow (1st and 10th Dec) —

Other lake photos —

lichen on tree, 1 Dec
lichen on tree, 1 Dec
view of picnic area, 6 Dec
view of picnic area, 6 Dec
snowy road, 6 Dec
snowy road, 6 Dec
lake with ice, 10 Dec
lake with ice, 10 Dec

 

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It was beginning winter.
An in-between time.
The landscape still partly brown:
The bones of weeds kept swinging in the wind,
Above the blue snow.

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It was beginning winter.
The light moved slowly over the frozen field,
Over the dry seed-crowns,
The beautiful surviving bones
Swinging in the wind.

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Light traveled over the wide field;
Stayed.
The weeds stopped swinging.
The wind moved, not alone,
Through the clear air, in the silence.

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— “It Was Beginning Winter” by Theodore Roethke

Thanksgiving Walk in the Woods

trailsnowtrailmarkerbattellnaturepreservetammiddleburyvt24nov2016

I’m in Middlebury, Vermont, walking/hiking the Trail Around Middlebury, an 18-mile or longer) trail that makes a sort of circuit around the little college town of Middlebury.

Today, Thanksgiving in the U.S.A., it snowed for a few hours, adding about an inch to the inch already on the ground most places. The grey sky and falling white lent just the right atmosphere to the air and earth for tromping around for several hours before eating the feast. Between the Battell and Means Wood trails, the Means Memorial Woods loop, and the Johnson Trail — all of which I’ve trekked in past years — I covered a little more than 6 miles of fairly easy trail. I ran into only a handful of fellow trekkers, all of us wearing our orange and red vests or coats because it’s hunting season here.

I’m very grateful for land trusts and other land conservation groups, and for the ability and time to luxuriate in natural places.

Battell Woods Trail

Entering the Battell Naure Preserve
Entering the Battell Naure Preserve
The TAM trail signs, often with arrows drawn on them
The TAM trail signs, often with arrows drawn on them
snowladen
snowladen

evergreentreesalongsnowfieldbbattellnaturepreservetammiddleburyvt24nov2016

helpful marked maps at the kiosks
helpful marked maps at the kiosks

trailfieldsnowmountainsdistancebattellnaturepreservetammiddleburyvt24nov2016

multiflora rose
multiflora rose

A tree that had lost most of its bark had some lovely textures underneath:

 

standtreessnowbattellnaturepreservetammiddleburyvt24nov2016

 

Means Memorial Woods Loop (not part of TAM) and Means Woods Trail

power lines right-of-way
power lines right-of-way
One of about 60 tags along the .5-mile Means Memorial Woods loop.
One of about 60 tags along the .5-mile Means Memorial Woods loop.
tree trunks that fell and wedged between other tree trunks
tree trunks that fell and wedged between other tree trunks

Shagbark hickory tree:

poems attached to trees in the Means Memorial Woods Loop ... we read most of the 10 or so
poems attached to trees in the Means Memorial Woods Loop … we read most of the 10 or so

 

An old road forms part of the Means Woods Trail
An old road forms part of the Means Woods Trail
field at the Chipman Trailhead (reached from Means Woods Trail)
field at the Chipman Trailhead (reached from Means Woods Trail)

Johnson Trail

views from Johnson Trail field
views from Johnson Trail field
Johnson Trail field
Johnson Trail field
burrs in snow
burrs in snow
pond
pond
cattails
cattails
milkweed pods
milkweed pods
one tree with green leaves still attached
one tree with green leaves still attached
No Horses (the Morgan Horse Museum is close by), and No Hunting, Trapping, or Shooting
No Horses (the Morgan Horse Museum is close by), and No Hunting, Trapping, or Shooting
TAM trail sign
TAM trail sign
a living insect in the snow, in 32F weather
a living insect in the snow, in 32F weather
fall leaves in snowy trail
fall leaves in snowy trail
leafy trail through snow
leafy trail through snow
three-trunk oak tree
three-trunk oak tree

fieldsnowjohnsontrailtammiddleburyvt24nov2016

view from Johnson Trail field
view from Johnson Trail field
view from Johnson Trail field ... I like the way the distant trees blurred a bit.
view from Johnson Trail field … I like the way the distant trees blurred a bit.
barn
barn

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving or just a simple Thursday, some of it outdoors perhaps.

I love these thoughts about winter trees:

Few things are more directly beautiful than winter trees: stripped of all ornament, clearly etched against the changing sky, moving in the stiff manner of wood into and then back against the wind. If leaves can be compared to clothing, then the deciduous tree in winter is naked. If clothing can be deceptive, then the tree in winter is true. If leaves represent an extreme profusion of form that is more finally articulated than the eye can register, much less language describe, then the form of the tree in winter is stark, particularly against the steel gray monochrome of the sky as snow comes.

 

“But the form of a winter tree, though it may be stark and withered, is liable also to be extraordinarily complex. The bare bark is channeled and cracked, and the directions of growth frozen into the form of each branch include saggings, twistings, splinterings, angles at which the branch has reached out or up. The form of the tree is a register of its history. The coloring, too, becomes as subtle as our approach is proximate: all the grays, blacks, and browns of wabi, with perhaps the weathered white of dead lichen or the blasted green of last year’s moss.” — Crispin Sartwell,  Six Names of Beauty

Forget Your Perfect Offering #2: Weeds

“We haven’t a clue as to what counts

in the secret landscape behind the landscape we look at here.”

— Charles Wright

Weeds without love. Torn and dying flowers. Dead insects and other animals. A tangle of brambles. Galls and burls. Broken trees, struggling trees. So much that’s not perfect is beautiful, magical, and soulful beyond words, beyond a photo, beyond belief. A secret landscape.

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For today, photos of weeds, wayside plants, invasive exotics, plants we want to eradicate, plants we don’t always love.

By colour.

Red/orange:

orange hawkweed, NH garden, June 2016
orange hawkweed, NH garden, June 2016
Japanese barberry, NH garden, Oct. 2014
Japanese barberry, NH garden, Oct. 2014
Japanese bittersweet, Cape Cod, Oct. 2016
Japanese bittersweet, Cape Cod, Oct. 2016
knotweed in fall colour, NH trail, Oct. 2015
knotweed in fall colour, NH trail, Oct. 2015
bittersweet vines and milkweed, NH field, Dec. 2015
bittersweet vines and milkweed, NH field, Dec. 2015
Jewelweed, NH garden, Sept. 2013
Jewelweed, NH garden, Sept. 2013
milkweed and brambles, NH meadow, Nov. 2013
milkweed and brambles, NH meadow, Nov. 2013
Prunus virginiana (choke cherry berries), NH meadow, Aug. 2014
Prunus virginiana (choke cherry berries), NH meadow, Aug. 2014
coltsfoot, NH rail trail, June 2014
coltsfoot, NH rail trail, June 2014
Russian thistle on beach, Jekyll Island, GA, Sept. 2014
Russian thistle on beach, Jekyll Island, GA, Sept. 2014
gaillardia (blanket flower) and rudbeckia, Jekyll Island, GA, June 2014
gaillardia (blanket flower) and rudbeckia, Jekyll Island, GA, June 2014

Yellow/gold:

Utricularia cornuta (horned bladderwort), NH bog, Aug. 2014
Utricularia cornuta (horned bladderwort), NH bog, Aug. 2014
yellow hawkweed, NH garden, Aug 2015
yellow hawkweed, NH garden, Aug 2015
purple-headed sneezeweed, NH meadow, Aug. 2016
purple-headed sneezeweed, NH meadow, Aug. 2016
bidens plant, NH lake, Oct. 2016
bidens plant, NH lake, Oct. 2016
wood nymph on goldenrod, NH meadow, Aug. 2014
wood nymph on goldenrod, NH meadow, Aug. 2014
silverrod (Solidago bicolor), NH garden, Sept. 2014
silverrod (Solidago bicolor), NH garden, Sept. 2014
senna flower, Jekyll Island, GA, Sept. 2014
senna flower, Jekyll Island, GA, Sept. 2014
Brassica nigra (black mustard), NH rail trail, June 2014
Brassica nigra (black mustard), NH rail trail, June 2014
Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea), Jekyll Island GA, Sept. 2014
Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea), Jekyll Island GA, Sept. 2014

 

 

Purple and pink:

dock leaves, persicaria flower, penstemon seedheads, NH garden, Sept. 2015
dock leaves, persicaria flower, penstemon seedheads, NH garden, Sept. 2015
pokeweed, Maine botanical garden, Aug. 2016
pokeweed, Maine botanical garden, Aug. 2016
Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed), NH lake, Aug. 2016
Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed), NH lake, Aug. 2016
red clover, NH garden, Sept. 2015
red clover, NH garden, Sept. 2015
purple loosestrife, NH pond, Aug. 2014
purple loosestrife, NH pond, Aug. 2014

 

Apios americana (ground nut vine), NH meadow, Aug. 2014
Apios americana (ground nut vine), NH meadow, Aug. 2014
beach pea bloom, Maine beach, June 2014
beach pea bloom, Maine beach, June 2014
thistle, NH bog, Aug. 2014
thistle, NH bog, Aug. 2014
cosmos et al., SC public garden, June 2014
cosmos et al., SC public garden, June 2014
Saponaria officinalis (double-flower soapwort), NH lake, Aug. 2016
Saponaria officinalis (double-flower soapwort), NH lake, Aug. 2016
smilax vine, NH rail trail, Sept. 2016
smilax vine, NH rail trail, Sept. 2016
railroad vine, Jekyll Island, GA, Sept. 2013
railroad vine, Jekyll Island, GA, Sept. 2013

Blue and green:

self-heal, NH garden, June 2016
self-heal, NH garden, June 2016
Sideroxlyon tenax (tough buckthorn) berries, Jekyll Island, Sept. 2014
Sideroxlyon tenax (tough buckthorn) berries, Jekyll Island, Sept. 2014
duckweed and fall leaves, NH open garden, Oct. 2015
duckweed and fall leaves, NH open garden, Oct. 2015
blue violet, NH trail, May 2016
blue violet, NH trail, May 2016
Virginia creeper, Jekyll Island, GA Sept. 2014
Virginia creeper, Jekyll Island, GA Sept. 2014
borage, NH garden, July 2015
borage, NH garden, July 2015

White/cream:

cow parsnip, northern NH field, July 2015
cow parsnip, northern NH field, July 2015
Arabis hirsuta (hairy rockcress), NH rail trail, June 2014
Arabis hirsuta (hairy rockcress), NH rail trail, June 2014
Polygonum articulatum (coastal jointed knotweed), NH rail trail, Sept. 2016
Polygonum articulatum (coastal jointed knotweed), NH rail trail, Sept. 2016
Queen Anne's lace, NH garden, Aug. 2012
Queen Anne’s lace, NH garden, Aug. 2012
Trifolium arvense (rabbit's foot clover), NH lake, July 2014
Trifolium arvense (rabbit’s foot clover), NH lake, July 2014
dandelions and white violets, NH garden, May 2016
dandelions and white violets, NH garden, May 2016
Mikania Scandens (climbing hempvine), Jekyll Island, GA, Sept. 2014
Mikania Scandens (climbing hempvine), Jekyll Island, GA, Sept. 2014
white clover, NH garden, June 2016
white clover, NH garden, June 2016

Ring the Bells That Still Can Ring

“Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.”

— Leonard Cohen (RIP: 1934-2106)

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 brokenbellmazepathoflifewindsorvt15oct2016

Resiliency: Mosses

Moss grows where nothing else can grow. It grows on bricks. It grows on tree bark and roofing slate. It grows in the Arctic Circle and in the balmiest tropics; it also grows on the fur of sloths, on the backs of snails, on decaying human bones. It is a resurrection engine. A single clump of mosses can lie dormant and dry for forty years at a stretch, and then vault back again into life with a mere soaking of water. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things

mosses9nov2016

A Place of Correspondence: Odiorne Point (Rye, NH)

“There is no mystery in this association of woods and otherworlds, for as anyone who has walked the woods knows, they are places of correspondence, of call and answer. Visual affinities of color, relief and texture abound. A fallen branch echoes the deltoid form of a streambed into which it has come to rest. Chrome yellow autumn elm leaves find their color rhyme in the eye-ring of the blackbird. Different aspects of the forest link unexpectedly with each other, and so it is that within the stories, different times and worlds can be joined.”  ― Robert Macfarlane, The Wild Places

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Odiorne Point State Park (official state park website) has an interesting history. Originally — as far as human history goes — it was called Pannaway and was the summer home of the native American tribes Abenaki and Penacook. It’s the spot of the first European settlement in New Hampshire  in spring 1623, and by the 1660s, John Odiorne and his family had bought it and were living on the land, generation after generation, through the Civil War period, when Odiorne Point became a colony of hotels, including the grand Sagamore House, and summer homes and estates; by the late 1930s, almost twenty families lived here, including an eighth-generation descendant of John Odiorne.

Then, in 1942, the U.S. government condemned these properties (265 acres total), gave the residents 30 days to get out, and took over the land from private ownership for construction of Fort Dearborn (named after Henry Dearborn, Revolutionary War solider, physician, and Secretary of War who was born in NH) as part of the Harbor Defenses of Portsmouth, installing bunkers and batteries of large (16″ and 6″) Mk2 and Mk1 ex-Navy guns in heavily protected concrete and earth casements, which you can still see on the land. The guns were test fired in June 1944 but only four years later, Fort Dearborn was deactivated and the guns were scrapped. The next year, it began to be used as a radar station by the U.S. Air Force, and from 1955-1959 it was the Rye Air Force Station, part of the Strategic Air Command, supporting nearby Pease Air Force Base. In 1961 the site was declared military surplus and was sold to the state of New Hampshire for $91,000.

Now the property hosts the Seacoast Science Center (nice blog), a small network of trails along the ocean and through lightly wooded areas (much of it overgrown with exotic plants like Oriental bittersweet. multiflora rose, and Japanese and European barberry — there is a 118-pp invasive plants management plan in place for Odiorne, dated May 2010), and EDALHAB (Engineering Design and Analysis Laboratory HABItat), an underwater habitat used for saturation diving experiments in Lake Winnipesaukee in the late 1960s. A few of the WWII bunkers and gun casements still stand, covered with colourful graffiti (great photos of the bunkers, casements, and graffiti here).

It’s an evocative place to visit, with echoes across the decades and centuries of human habitation, along with a variety of bird life spending time here now: I’ve seen eiders, brants, red-necked grebes, buffleheads, red-breasted mergansers, gulls, cormorants, several kinds of hawks, and many songbirds, including bluebirds and cedar waxwings.

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These are some photos from visits in Nov. 2014, March 2016, and Nov. 2016.

Some sea birds … two photos of mergansers; buffleheads; red-necked grebe and common eider; and brants:

A red-tailed hawk and some songbirds … two photos of cedar waxwings, a nuthatch, mockingbird, bluebird, goldfinch:

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Shells and stones and other things on the beach:

Some more beach bits:

rocksgrasseslittleharborodiornepointstateparkryenh29nov2014 pondingrassshorelineodiornepointsp13march2016 breastsandgrassesshoreodiornepointsp13march2016 beachredgrasslighthouseoceanodiornesp5nov2016 redfallfoliagerosarugosabeachsandodiornesp5nov2016 redfallfoliagerosarugosabeachsandbodiornesp5nov2016 redorangeyellowfallfoliagerosarugosaodiornesp5nov2016 littleharborgulfofmaineodiornepointstateparkryenh29nov2014

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Brambles, tangles, invasive plants:

Maybe not technically an invasive, but tansy spreads everywhere, and it’s all over the ground at Odiorne now:

tansyplantsyellowflowersodiornesp5nov2016 tansyodiornesp5nov2016 yellowbuttontansyflowersodiornesp5nov2016

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A couple of photos of the former military bunkers as they are now:

concretestructuregraffitiodiornepointsp13march2016 longlivethelesbiansgraffitoconcretevinesodiornepointsp13march2016

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Paths:

sumacredberriesoversnowypathodiornepointstateparkryenh29nov2014 treelinedpathodiornepointsp13march2016 sumacredtwigspathwayodiornepointsp13march2016 sandypathodiornepointsp13march2016 grassypathfallcolourodiornesp5nov2016 grasstrailwithsnowtreesodiornepointstateparkryenh29nov2014 snowytrailandwallodiornepointstateparkryenh29nov2014 sandypathgrassesskyodiornepointsp13march2016 trailtreearchingfallleavesodiornesp5nov2016

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Trees:

largetreetrunkoakodiornesp5nov2016 lonecedarbeach-oceanskyodiornesp5nov2016 multitrunkedpinetreeodiornesp5nov2016 fallcolourtreesodiornesp5nov2016sunlightlargeoaktreetrunkodiornesp5nov2016 treeyellowleavesfallcolourodiornesp5nov2016 yellowirisfoliagetreesharborodiornesp5nov2016 baretreesstonewalloceanodiornesp5nov2016 fallcolourtreessumacmapleoakodiornesp5nov2016

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These two photos were taken from almost the same vantage point, one in March and one in November:

sumacshadowsodiornepointsp13march2016
sumacsfallfoliageharborcoveodiornesp5nov2016

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I’ll leave you with a striated ledge on the beach – aren’t rocks pretty?:

lightdarkstriatedledgerockbeachodiornesp5nov2016

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