Saturday featured a lovely lingering morning, much raking while Christine dug the holes for the Aunt Rachel and Johnson Keeper apple trees. All three apples are planted now. I moved the mulberries into the green house and found one had rooted to the ground through its pot. Oops. Despite gloves i earned a blister. After picking the last of the zinnas and a big bundle of tulsi in preparation for the first freeze, we went out to visit friends on the other side of Raleigh and had a pleasant time.
Sunday morning frost was apparent. By afternoon the zinnas and some other plants were black with frost burn, the tulsi melted. I continued raking, happily accumulating mulch. In transplanting a native grass from an area i am thickly mulching, i found a DeKay's Brownsnake, a rather small critter. Once i documented it, i put it under piles of leaves.
The fall color is passing quickly, the winds Saturday morning loosened lots of leaves. I'd estimate over 50% of the trees are bare at this point. The invasive autumn olive is still green: part of its advantage over the natives. Other trees are green or changing, but the trend is wintry. One of the trees i've noticed the past few weeks are the hickories: their leaves are a lovely clear gold-yellow. The native sweet gum, Liquidambar, doesn't have the coloration that the street tree selections have, but present a patchwork of reds and yellows and browns. Tulip poplar leaves turn yellow but are quickly black on the ground. I find myself wanting some fiery red sumac and brilliant sassafras. I'm pretty sure i'm going to have to shelter sassafras from deer.
Off to work....