There are two natural seasons of leaf fall here. To save moisture near the end of a long, dry summer, the native horse chestnuts drop many or all of their crispy-brown leaves by early September to stop transpiration. The redwoods let loose thousands of their tawny-brown needled leaves, but remain evergreen. The lane is mulched by the enormous release of this otherwise transpiring foliage. (This past year saw the deepest mulch of fallen redwood leaves due to a blight promoted by a rare June rain.) The California bay trees send down shower of some of their mottled green and yellow leaves splotched gray-brown.
Each fall presents a special composition as I walk over the leaves along my driveway. I find the fallen leaves of the crisp-brown horse chestnut, the dull-brown of one of the few deciduous oaks, the golden leaves of a single cherry tree that somehow appeared amongst the native trees. One native plant that is sure to delight the eye is the thimble berry with it’s golden leaves against a backdrop of rich, evergreen foliage. (See above.) These bright spots of color remain late into the winter. Here they were photographed at the end of December.
Sometimes the few deciduous leaves grace the ground in a crisp crackle. Early rains dampen fallen leaves into a lackluster, moist clutter.
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