Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Fall on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Smokey Mountain National Park

Fall is in the air in Asheville, North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Cataloochee.    I took a drive on the Parkway and also camped at Cataloochee a few days ago and here are some of the beautiful sights that spoke to my soul.  If you are near the Parkway, take a trip to see nature's beauty and fill your soul with the blessings of earth!

Fall Evening on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Sunset in October.

Fall Evening on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Sunset in October


Flowering Dogwood, 

Mountain Ash, Sorbus americana


Mountain Ash, Sorbus americana

Mountain Ash, Sorbus americana

Black Gum, Nyssa sylvatica

Black Gum, Nyssa sylvatica

Black Gum, Nyssa sylvatica









Finding the signs of Fall




On my walk today, I was looking for signs of Fall.  I encourage everyone to go outside and look for at least ten signs of Fall.  Please write to me and tell me what you find.  While you are looking for the signs of Fall, use all of your senses; get into the moment and really listen, smell, look, feel, and taste.  Here are the signs of fall that I experienced.

1st sign of fall, yellowing leaves on the Yellow Birch tree.

Yellow Birch
2nd sign of fall, red berries on the dogwood trees.

Dogwood Tree
3rd sign of fall, yellow leaves on the Frasier Magnolia tree

Fraser Magnolia
4th sign of fall, Basswood leaves getting lacey holes in the leaves.

Basswood Tree leaves
5th sign of fall, Devils Walking Stick tree changing colors.

Devil's walking stick changing colors
6th sign of fall, Dahlias are in bloom.

Dahlia in bloom

7th sign of fall, Yellow fall wildflowers are everywhere.

8th sign of fall, A big blue Carolina sky.


My 9th sign of fall, listening to the fall insects singing.

My 10th sign of fall, was the feel of coolness in the air.

You know life happens every day, time ticks by second by second.  We get so busy at work and school and home.  Take time from your day and notice what is happening around you in nature.
Parents, I challenge you to take your kids outside and sit with them on the earth, walk in the woods, walk down the street in your neighborhood.  Get outside and notice what is happening all around you. Ask your kids to notice ten changes that are happening in nature as our season is changing to fall.

Write to me and tell me the changes you observe.
Celerylady@gmail.com









Sunday, July 26, 2020

Box Elder - Acer negundo

Aceraceae - Maple Family 
"A Year With the Trees" - Tree Number 1


Spring

Box Elder drawing by  Brooke Priddy Conrad

The Box Elder in the light of a spring day

Summer

The Box Elder tree has a compound leaf with three to five leaflets per leaf. The leaflets have coarse teeth. The twigs are green and hairless. They grow in pairs in an opposite arrangement. The flowers are like stacks of samaras, and are quite beautiful.

Fall 

Box Elder leaves in September
Box Elder on October 1st at Carrier Park in Asheville, NC


Winter

Box Elder, Acer negundo
photo by Robert Priddy

 The Box Elder is so beautiful this time of year with the samaras still holding on in the winter sunlight.  If you happen to be out on a winter's day walk in West Asheville by the river, be on the lookout for this Box Elder tree.

Winter Tree Identification is quite challenging and fun.  I have so much fun knowing what the trees are in the winter.  The trees I do not recognize, I will get out my books and computer and figure it out. 

The Winter Box Elder can be identified by looking at the twigs and bark. 
On the twig, leaf scars meet in a raised point and you will see the leaf scars circling the stem.
Twigs are greenish to purple and slender and hairless.  They grow opposite each other on the branches.
The bark will be smooth while the tree is young.  The tree will develop bark that is gray brown with interlacing ridges and furrows.

Buds are covered in whitish hairs.  The terminal bud is pointed, reddish, woolly.

Epicormic branches can be seen sticking out on the trunk; they are usually green.  These are little random branches that just stick out on the trunk.

Here is my drawing/interpretation of a Box Elder Twig.  

Box Elder Twig
Rebecca Priddy

The Champion Box Elder trees

There are 3 champion Box Elder trees listed in the North Carolina forest service champion tree program.  One of them is the Murphy, North Carolina.  It is 66 feet tall with a circumference of 147 inches.  
https://www.ncforestservice.gov/urban/tree_detail.asp?Tree_ID=664


My favorite Box Elder Tree

My favorite Box Elder lives in West Asheville on the walk by the river near Carrier Park.  I think the Box Elder may be one of the most photogenic trees I have ever photographed.


Plant a Box Elder Tree

The Box Elder tree is one of the host plants for the Cecropia silkmoth, the largest moth in America.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hyalophora_cecropia_01.jpg





This tree is a masterpiece of art. The seeds are eaten by wildlife. The sap makes syrup. The branches are great for climbing. The samaras are beautiful. The shade to sit under and read is just perfect.

For the love of the trees,
Becky



Saturday, July 25, 2020

Striped Maple - Acer pensylvanicum

Aceraceae - Maple Family 
"A Year With the Trees" - Tree Number 2
Striped Maple
Acer pensylvanicum


Spring
Striped Maple flowers
Summer

This tree is also called Goose-foot. Looking at the leaf, the name makes sense.

The Striped Maple Tree
This Striped Maple lives on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mt. Pisgah.


Fall 


Striped Maple, BlueRidge Pky.
The Striped Maple usually a small tree, 30 to 40 feet tall; and it has striped bark, thus the name.  The stripes are white against a green trunk; the stripes go in an "up and down" direction.   As the tree gets older, the trunk becomes brown and gets a bit warty.  However, the twigs will remain green striped with white.

Acer pensylvanicum, Striped Maple, Asheville Botanical Gardens
I encourage you to go into nature and enjoy the peace that surrounds you.



Winter
Striped Maple
Acer pensylvanicum


The Winter Striped Maple can be identified by looking at the twigs and bark.

On the twig, leaf scars are crescent shaped.
Twigs are stout and striped or greenish.  They grow opposite each other on the branches.
The bark will be green to brown while the tree is young.  The tree will develop green and white striped bark.

The Buds are reddish, with short stalk, narrow and ovoid shaped..  The buds are called valvate, which means the edges of the buds meet without overlapping.

The Champion Striped Maple Trees

The American Forest champion Striped Maple lives in Maine and is 65 feet tall with a circumference of 33 inches.

My favorite Striped Maple Tree

My favorite Striped Maple trees lives near Mt. Pisgah on the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Plant a Striped Maple Tree


Many animals and birds eat the leaves and shoots and buds and nectar of the Striped Maple Trees.
Some of these animals and birds are rabbits, moose, white-tailed deer, beavers, ruffed grouse, and honeybees.  



For the love of the trees,
Becky


Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, July 24, 2020

Red Maple - Acer rubrum

Aceraceae - Maple Family 
"A Year With the Trees" - Tree Number 3
Red Maple Tree

Acer rubrum


Spring
Male and female Acer rubrum flowers
This Red Maple lives at the Pisgah National Forest Ranger Station near Brevard, North Carolina.  This Red Maple is in the front yard of the Ranger Station. 

The female Acer rubrum flower
The Red Maple in the spring is said to be one of the most beautiful flowering trees in the world.

The Red Maples blooming on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Red Maples blooming

Summer

The Red Maple journal entry, drawing by Brooke Priddy Conrad

The Red Maple leaves are opposite and simple; the sinuses between the lobes are V shaped. The lobes are wide and toothed. The leaf is green and whitish underneath. The leaf stalk is red.

The tree usually grows 60-90 feet high and 2-3 feet in diameter.


Fall 
Acer rubrum, Red Maple

Acer rubrum, Red maple

Winter

This Acer rubrum lives near my house at Priddy Woods.  This tree has so many red features that the name is certainly appropriate.  I am finding each and every tree species has it own individuality.  There are features that are unique to each species in each season.  The young red maple trees in the winter will have these red twigs that emerge from the smooth gray bark.  A trait of the maple family is the way these trees grow in community.  Where there is one, there are many.  Can you tell that by this first picture.  The two trunks grew from one of the many shoots that emerge from the earth.  You will notice when you find mature maples, they commonly have multiple trunks.

Acer rubrum, Red Maple, Priddy Woods

The Champion Red Maple Trees

The national champion Red Maple is in Salem, New Jersey. The tree is 91 feet tall with a circumference of 270 inches.  https://www.americanforests.org/big-trees/red-maple-acer-rubrum-3/


My favorite Red Maple Tree

My favorite red maple lives by the Davidson River ranger station near Brevard, North Carolina.  The first time I saw this tree it was covered in flowers, which appear before the leaves.


Plant a Red Maple Tree

Red Maple trees are native here in the Southern Appalachian mountains where I live.  These trees are beautiful with the flowers and the colorful leaves in the fall.  Red maples support all types of wildlife. Birds, small mammals, butterflies, moths live in and among the red maple trees.  If you live in an area where red maples are native to the area, consider planting the beautiful red maple.

For the love of the trees,
Becky


Acer rubrum

Fall on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Smokey Mountain National Park

Fall is in the air in Asheville, North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Cataloochee.    I took a drive on the Parkway and also camped ...