Per Heliconia’s Request: Pretty Red Branches


No snowy Christmas for Seattle, alas. Just gray drippy skies. But winter isn’t all dull and drab. Yes, most of the trees are gray skeletons, but there’s plenty of evergreenery, and then there are the bushes whose branches blaze in the thin, cold light.

Pretty Red Branches

Pretty Red Branches

Just like Heliconia requested!

All right, so the leaves never really got with the fall color program:

Not-quite-autumn leaves

Not-quite-autumn leaves

A few are making an effort at achieving that blazing red beauty.

A blush o' red

A blush o’ red

It seems when all else failed, they just borrowed from the maples.

Red leaf on greenery

Red leaf on greenery

You may notice there’s a huge variation in relative plant baldness.

Pretending it's not winter

Pretending it’s not winter

These bushes are in strong denial. It’s winter. They just don’t want it to be winter. So they’re hanging on to their leaves, even though many of them have turned manky or gone yellow, and they’re even blooming in places.

Deep (and somewhat pathetic) denial

Deep (and somewhat pathetic) denial

It’s not like it’s so warm that it would be deceiving anything, really. We’ve had frosts and some briskly cold days and about three hours of sunshine since early November. You’d think they’d get the hint. But no. Blooming.

Your bloom, my dear.

Your bloom, my dear.

You may notice some green sticks there amongst the red. There’s a similar-but-not-the-same shrubbery as part of that landscaping. They’re kind of mixed willy-nilly.

Green schtick shrub

Green schtick shrub

It’s also trying to be all bloomy, but it’s not doing quite so brilliantly.

Coulda been a contenda

Coulda been a contenda

So it’s left to its Western Red-Osier Dogwood cousin to really bring out the brilliant blooms.

Beautiful bloom

Beautiful bloom

I’ll try to catch these if it snows. I’ve a feeling the red branches against white snow will be spectacular.

Comments

  1. rq says

    I hope you get some snow just to get nice photos of these plants! :) It’s so weird to think that you’re in the middle of so-called winter right now… And there’s no snow at all!

  2. Karen Locke says

    Lovely red stalks. And blooms. Silly plants!

    Here in the San Francisco Bay Area the surest sign of winter has arrived: our grassy hills are green again! They’ll stay green until maybe April, then turn gold, then brown by summer. But give us a bit of winter rain and boom! it’s like someone snuck out and painted them all green overnight.

  3. rq says

    Marcus Ranum
    Why red stalks? Just pigmentation – extra red/brown pigments in the bark of the bush.
    Why red leaves? With autumn, comes the death of the leaves, and chlorophyll fades out in leaves. Because it isn’t the only pigment in a leaf, once it fades, it lets the others shine through – the other pigments are somewhat species-dependent, but also soil-dependent (it was revealed that maples are more likely to turn red in poor soil and yellow in very fertile soil – I’m going to have to search out a link, but it was a study done in Toronto). Why do leaves sometimes maintain green colour even into autumn? I’m not sure about that one.

  4. aspidoscelis says

    Hello Dana–Although not relevant to the contents of this post, I came across some rocks recently you might find interesting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aspidoscelis/8313101902/in/photostream

    So far as I can tell, most of the outcrop where I took this photo (southern NM; precise location at the link) is rhyolite tuff. But this little bit of it, at least, has these odd bands… best I can guess is the banding is from a series of different eruptions laying down tuff alternating with eruptions laying down just plain rhyolite, but hell if I know. Not something I’ve seen before, that I can recall. Any idea what’s going on? (BTW, I didn’t take any closer pictures of the rocks, though I should have… the “original” size of the image is at least fairly huge.)

    Also, anyone know how to get the formatting here to be less screwy? I don’t understand why the URL is floating out there on the right & if I try to use the “a” HTML tag it just gets worse. Can’t seem to get a blank line separating paragraphs, either. Must be possible, since Karen Locke did it…

    • rq says

      People in general have been having issues with the Preview function around FtB since it changed appearances. Things look screwy in preview but end up fine in the actual comment, and occasionally, the opposite happens. Moi, I just don’t preview; I just hope for the best! ;) But all your links is fine on my computer. :) Blame everything else on Preview.

      • aspidoscelis says

        Thanks. I guess I haven’t posted since the change, so hadn’t noticed. Well, if I know things are (probably) going to look how I expect, I’ll just ignore the preview. :-)