Fall colors here in southeastern Wisconsin have surprised everyone this year. Now past peak color, the countryside sparkled with bright yellows and golds. The dark red and umber of sumac adorned many hillsides along the edge of forests. In the towns, the maples were magnificent in their display of red and gold. Local wisdom claims that the beautiful fall this year is due to the drought this past summer. Corn harvests in this area averaged about half of what is normal, and in many cases, entire fields were lost because the corn simply failed to germinate. In my neighborhood all the grass turned brown and dry with no sign of life. Some people watered their grass just to prevent the possibility of fire from a careless match or a lightening strike. In a normal year you couldn’t set the grass in this neighborhood on fire with a blow torch.
Perhaps because of the harsh summer, the fall colors appeared two to three weeks earlier than last year, lifting the spirits of everyone in this never-ending election season. Below are several photos taken last week around the area. (Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them to a humongous size.)
The oaks provided one of the surprises about the fall colors this year in that they actually displayed bright colors. Normally, the oaks simply turn a dull brown color as the leaves die on the trees. In the photo above, however, the oranges in the upper right of the photo below to several burr oaks that are impressive for their size, but almost never for their color. Three more images follow.
I don’t know the name of the plant featured below, but each of the leaves, in its singularity, is a marvel.