The second stage of autumn is well underway at Japan House Pond at the Illinois Arboretum. The hawthorn and maple that form the northern border of the pond have dropped their leaves to reveal the grey-white bark so reminiscent of winter. A bronze background of oak peeks out from between their barren branches. The alder to the left staunchly retains green leaves as if oblivious to the cooler temperatures.
The fiery foliage of Euonymous breaks the evergreen consistency of the gardens surrounding Japan House, providing a red that will soon exist in the holly berries that persist through winter.
A rusty orange has begun to cascade from the tops of ornamental cherries that line the path along the southwestern edge of the pond. The foliage on the lower branches remains green, but autumn color covers the tops of the trees. On the weeping varieties, the color appears to erupt from the center of the tree downward.
The younger maples in the Japan House gardens remain full of leaves and striking in color. My visit was greeted with a particularly stiff breeze, so capturing the maples in a still moment was a challenge. I didn’t complain, for watching the sunlight dance among the leaves was simply mesmerizing.
Several varieties of Japanese maple are planted in the house gardens. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such spectacular fall color in them. The wide spectrum of color in each tree — and even in each leaf — would have satisfied me if it were the only sight to see on this visit to Japan House Pond.