Hickory, Chicory, Dock

Think for a moment about the origins of the various culinary and medicinal purposes to which plants have been put over the millennia. For every fruit, nut, leaf, berry, etc. that became food or medicine for us at some point in history or prehistory, somebody initially served as the “guinea pig.” That is, somebody in a particular tribe was the first to try ingesting taro root, for example (better known as elephant ears). Said guinea pig survived (in this case), and others followed suit. Through a less fortunate guinea pig, people learned that foxglove didn’t make for a very good snack! Read more…

Why Leaves Change Color?

Scientists don’t yet fully understand all of the complicated actions and interactions that produce the spectacular displays of autumn leaf colorsBiological illustration of a leaf's color change that are a highlight of the fall months. Although not fully understood, several factors affect when and how tree leaves change color and the hues they produce. These factors include:

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Top 9 Fall Foilage Trees

Every autumn as the days get shorter trees across the country produce spectacular displays of fall leaf colors.  Adding trees with great fall foliage trees is a great landscape design technique because of the color it adds to your yard.  Here are 9 trees that I thought had great fall color.

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Fall Foliage Trees: The Good, the Bad and the Invasive

We take our consolations in life where we can. I live in a cold climate and dislike the onset of winter, which brings harsh weather, along with shoveling snow, scraping ice off car windshields, etc. As if the dreariness and the drudgery weren’t bad enough, winter robs me of one of my chief passions in life: my outdoor plants. Oh, sure, I can still enjoy my evergreen shrubs and ornamental grass; and other plants inject some visual interest into the winter landscape via interesting branching patterns and whatnot. But none of this makes up for the loss I’ve suffered. I’ll mourn till spring.

That’s why I drain every ounce of satisfaction out of fall foliage season. Whether it’s “leaf peeping” on vacation or selecting superior fall foliage plants for my own yard, fall foliage is a big deal to this Hyperborean: It’s my ultimate consolation as another long winter stares me in the face.

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