Fall Russet

High and cool Santa Fe after my presentation ended, the next day in lower and milder Albuquerque. Other than having to go back to my place even warmer and lower still, plus work and the drive to get there, it was nice to see the progression of autumn go beyond the cliche of yellows or more often, browns tinged with dull yellows.

Especially interesting was to see these plants of warmer affinities provide so much color, after they take summers in stride.

Photos from 11/9/2003 –

Red Valerian / Centranthus ruber in Santa Fe, still a few blooms after quite a few frosts and possibly a hard freeze or two

a flower I’ve never taken the time to look at closely before, miniature trumpets
back in Albuquerque, a Trader Joe’s visit and young Texas Red or Spanish Oak / Quercus buckleyi trees, lining the loop in ABQ Uptown…
hang in there, they are just starting to show  fall color…
from dark green to burgundy to some reds…wait until Thanksgiving and into early December for their peak foliage color explosion
what caught my eye first driving in…’Regal Mist’ Gulf Muhley / Muhlenbergia capillaris in front of Texas Prickly Pear / Opuntia lindheimeri (sold as Desert Prickly Pear / O. engelmannii)

4 Replies to “Fall Russet”

  1. That red valerian is gorgeous. I would love to plant it but it gets a wee bit too hot here. Santa Fe is a beautiful city and there is something special about going to a whole city that gardens.

    I need to try Valerian; in Abq it did better in part shade. Santa Fe is getting on the road to gaining it’s sense of place in plant choices…whole town that garden might also include Portland, Austin, Tucson.


  2. Very nice succession of color on display. We mostly get the “turn brown and drop” type of fall color. The muhly makes for an interesting fall color so different from those in the northeast.

    We’re lucky to get some color in all the brown-drop of many, but not much. Yes, a nice texture in that muhly!


  3. As you know, we have to depend on something other than colorful trees, for all color here in Texas.

    I planted some Gulf Muhly this year, and it managed to not get washed away and is blooming. I was hoping it was pretty drought tolerant. We shall see.

    Winter is arriving tonight…for a couple days, anyway. Come in, zap tender plants, and leave….the old drive-by freeze…ugh

    Love that last shot.

    Thanks. Same in Abq and EP, but we do have some fall-color tree species also drought-tolerant. I think for you, Gulf Muhley is more drought tolerant (your erratic rainfall = 3-4x ours), so I clarified that. Enjoy your hit of winter; still no frost chance here…just sun, wind and a nice touch of moisture in the air!


  4. D: Great notes on descending from altitude back down to warmer zones. I recall it was the high canyon areas around SLC in Utah that got their spectacular autumn color first, followed by the valley floor.

    I’ve always wanted to try out some Gulf Muhly but my only full sun spots are also quite dry. I’m reading conflicting water use requirements, is there a variant with similar color to offer that doesn’t need regular watering or do you find them fairly tolerant of low water conditions?

    From Abq to El Paso, the color is more gradual, but still an amazing 260 miles! Muhleys…I will do a post on some I’ve used, and there are a few other pink ones…most need 1/3 day of sun. Gulf Muhly is a moderate water plant *out here*.


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