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Love a leaf, Love Life

"Anyone can love a rose, but it takes a great deal to love a leaf. It's ordinary to love the beautiful, but it's beautiful to love the ordinary."  - Unknown

I came across this quote, and it expressed what is close to my heart. If one can love the common things, life will be full of riches; and to see the beauty in a leaf is to be open to the magnificence of the Creation.

The most amazing thing happened this past week. September 23 was the first official day of autumn, and when I opened the door that morning, autumn had arrived! When does the weather ever follow the calendar around here? September 22 was hot and humid and still decidedly summer, but a storm that night blew summer away and deposited autumn in its place. I walk around in a reverie, breathing in the fresh air and watching leaves turn before my eyes.

Dogwoods (Cornus florida) are among the first trees to start turning:

Alabama croton is a rare native plant with very interesting leaves:

Hydrangea ''Lady in Red' is noted for its red stems and lovely flowers, but it also has striking fall foliage:

Acuba japonica 'Variegata' adds spots of color to shady places:

Pieris japonica 'Cavantine' is putting on a pretty flush of new growth:

I love just about all variegated plants, including this variegated holly fern:

Another plant with wonderful variegated leaves is Hydrangea macrophylla 'Variegata':Years ago I planted a rhododendron in the woodland garden. I admire the large deep green leaves and like the shrub's structural presence, so I was not terribly disappointed when it did not bloom. But, look! This year it is producing buds! I guess it just needed time to grow up. I long ago forgot what color the flowers should be. I look forward to a spring surprise:

Euonymus americanus, otherwise called American Strawberry Bush and (my favorite) Hearts-a-bustin, has lovely fall foliage that becomes translucent white, washed with tints of gold and pink. Its fruit in this image is not quite ripe:

Tamopan persimmons have not yet ripened to deep orange, but the tree's large leaves are quite remarkable, especially as they being to turn.Some hungry bug apparently appreciates the leaves even more than I do!

This is the first Tamopan persimmon leaf beginning to assume its fall colors.I love individual leaves, and I also love how myriads of leaves blend together to create tapestries like the following views of the front garden:

With all these leaves, my life is truly rich. But just wait till they all start falling. We will be knee deep in treasure! 

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Reader Comments (16)

Gorgeous first glimpses of fall! Thanks for sharing!

September 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristi {Jealous Hands}

It takes refinement in taste to appreciate leaves more or at least just as much as flowers Debs :) gorgeous photos and happy autumn!

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

A walk through your garden as fall starts to settle in is such a wonderful way to greet the new week. I really appreciate your photos.

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie@Seattl Trekker

Your lovely images demonstrate how unerringly nature knows when it's autumn time – and shows it beautifully through leaves of all colors and stripes.

What a canvas you have cultivated. Enjoy.

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLee May

That sudden change in temperature happened here too, although the days remain hot, but in the mornings the bathroom floor tiles feel cold to my feet, I need to look for my slippers! your trees and shrubs are wonderful and the show has hardly started yet, but so many colourful leaves, treasure indeed. Christina

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

You have the perfect photos to demonstrate what an "understory" is in the garden.

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Jones

Lovely leaves. I hope you will soon show us the autumn colors of your beautiful woodland garden. My rhododendron also didn't flower in the first few years after I planted it. I thought that maybe I planted it too deep.

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

I totally agree, Deb! If you can appreciate simple things you will always find joy. Your photos are stunning! Autumn is coming on with a vengeance here in Wisconsin now. I imagine we'll be near peak fall color very soon. And we've had very mild weather which has made it especially pleasant to be outdoors. Thanks for sharing your talents and your grace.

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

Beautiful leaf views, Deb! I love the common name of that Euonymus, hearts-a-bustin - it's perfect. I'm glad you're enjoying the touch of autumn - will it last, do you think? We had another cool weekend, which I enjoyed immensely, even though I spent it hard at work clearing grass roots and rocks from the front yard. Unfortunately, 90+F temperatures are expected to return this week.

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

How amazing is that to have fall show up on time...not here. It is summer again but I'll take it. i really like Alabama croton...what a great leaf...and that quote is perfection.

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

the yin yang leaf on the Hydrangea!

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

I like your quote and your thought that: "If one can love the common things, life will be full of riches." Your post on leaves is of course timely. Leaves are fresh in spring, but magical in fall. I love the translucent quality many acquire. You certainly have some interesting leaves in your post. The texture of the native Alabama croton is just exquisite.

September 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Variegated leaves show up so wonderfully in the shade. I had forgotten that 'Lady in Red' had fall color. It's lovely. Another plant to add to the want list. I have had a kind if obsession with Alabama Croton after reading about it in Dirr's book. Are the leaves on your plant fragrant?

September 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

When I was just getting started in gardening, I read how one photographer for a top gardening magazine said foliage is the key to a great garden.

I didn't really understand or believe that quote at the time. I figured flowers are what makes a garden.

I still love flowers, but I do feel that foliage and plant structure play crucial roles in garden design -- as you've highlighted here.

(Personally, I'm not as enthusiastic about all sorts of variegated plants as you are, but I do love the variegated aucuba!)

October 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

We had that amazing turn of seasons also...hot the last day of summer, and cool and wet the first day of Autumn. Funny how it all worked out this year.

Your leaves are gorgeous...find joy in the ordinary. Love that quote also.

I've always been a foliage person, not just a bloom and blossom kind of girl.


October 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

I'm always impressed with your beautiful up-close photographs of leaves. I'm not surprised to learn that you love them.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJean

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