• Greg Graves

Fall Color

Orting Washington

It is mid November and here in the Northwest, with the changes in the season the plants take notice. It is probably the most dramatic time for deciduous plants. It is when the color really pops.

Japanese Maple

It is a very simple process in the leaf. The leaf starts to produce less chlorophyll which is what makes the leaf green. Chlorophyll captures sunlight and turns it into food for the plant. As the days shorten and the temperatures decrease, this process stops. It is kind of like turning off a tap at the base of the leaf. Since food production is no longer happening there is no use for the leaf and it slowly dies and falls off. In the process it turns a variety of colors.

native plants down in the valley

For most of us, it is just pretty. Some parts of the country, like the Northeast, have built a whole industry around the fall color of the native trees. It really is spectacular to see the hillsides ablaze in reds and yellows. We aren’t called the ‘Evergreen State’ for nothing though. Our native forests are mostly conifers. We do have some deciduous trees mixed in but almost all our deciduous trees are yellow or in the case of the Vine Maples a bit of orange mixed in.

Here at the farm, when we started to build the garden, I wanted to use some of the lessons I had learned at the Miller garden. Mrs Miller loved fall so had planted her garden with that in mind. We removed 12 Big Leaf Maple seedlings and replaced them with a number of my favorite fall trees. We added a few Cornus or dogwoods, Oxydendron or sourwood, Stewartia and a number of Acer palmatum or Japanese Maples. These small trees combined with some shrubs, such as, Witch Hazels, Fothergillas, deciduous Azaleas and Rhododendrons to form the backbone of seasonal color. We have also used several types of grasses for late season texture. This is the evergreen State so you still can’t deny the main color, green, in the fall garden. Green is the perfect backdrop to make the rest of these really stand out.

Now all I have to do is sit back in my easy chair and take it all in.

Chase Garden

Rhus tricocarpa

Vitis cognitiea

Japanese Garden Portland

Japanese Garden Portland

Inside Japanese Maple

Japanese Garden in Portland

#color #fallcolor #OldGoatFarm #trees

53 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All



20021 Orting Kapowsin Hwy. E.
Graham, WA 98338
Phone: (360) 893-1261
E-mail: oldgoatfarm@comcast.net