Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Autumn Color in the City

We are supposed to have rain for the next few days, which means most of the leaves will fall. As I went places yesterday, I turned on my camera and shot out my car window at stop lights. I've seen a lot of beautiful fall color photos on many garden and homestead blogs, so I though I would show you what it looks like in a city.

Just outside my door, I can (and do) look up the street and watch the mountain change with the seasons. The city owns most of the mountainside as a wildlife preserve, studded with bits of private property here and there.

If we drove up on that mountain, we would be able to look out over the city from several lookouts. It was overcast and misty yesterday. Reading and it's surrounding suburbs are nestled into the nooks of a series of rolling hills. Mt. Penn is the one rising above my house.

There is a scenic road called Skyline Drive, lined with stone walls that were built by CCC workers during the (first) Depression. One end is anchored by the Pagoda, a local landmark that just turned 100 years old, and is being restored. It exhibits its own fall color change in a jacket of yellow scaffolding.

We can see the foot of Neversink Mountain across the little valley below the Pagoda, rising behind East Reading.

OK, now back to where I was going... taking DD15 to work at the coffee shop at the Fairgrounds Mall. The mall is on the site of the old Reading Fair and Racetrack. This huge tree at the edge of the parking lot is one of the few remaining veterans of the Fair.

There is color even in tedious parking lot landscaping, like this convenience store grass.

This field could be anywhere - full of goldenrod, knotweed, and sumac. But just to the left is the convenience store (the Wawa on Rockland, for you locals).

The hillside next to the turning lane on 11th Street.

The other side of the same stretch. (Waiting at a light.)

"Mommy, why is that lady pulled up to that planter?" She's looking at the Sedum 'Angelina' turning colors. It will get darker red as it gets colder.

View of Mt. Penn from the parking lot at the Giant grocery store. Skyline Drive runs along the top of that ridge.

I know it's trash vegetation in a vacant lot between the CVS and the Weis market, but I like it better than the commercial landscaping.

It has more color.

An iron fence near a school. There was a guy in a car just to the right where I shot this out of my car window. I think he thought I was stalking him.

A lovely small tree along 13th St on the way back home.

Autumn Joy Sedum, or what the aphids have left of it, in front of my house.

Time to drive DD12 to soccer. I like this house at the stoplight. It was restored last year. Before that it looked like a classic haunted house. You can't see it in this windshield photo, but I like the purple that they used as an accent color.

Late goldenrod along the roadside.

A view down into City Park, still taken from my car at the red light.

A row of Japanese Bloodgrass next to Central Catholic High School, whose colors are red and white.

I think this tree on Hill Road flowers in the spring. It sure turns nice shades of yellow, apricot and orange in the fall.

My favorite group of trees on the way to soccer. I watch them do things all year.

A little red maple I always notice in the understory along the road.

The soccer field is on top of the mountain, a grass and gravel clearing surrounded by forest. The Rotary Club runs this field for Little League and our rec league, the Reading Soccer Club. We have to leave out snacks for the raccoons to keep them from digging in the trash cans and making a mess. It gets very dark, and you can see the stars, when they turn out the field lights.

Kat, Gillian, Diana, Kiera, DD12, and Precious waiting for a kicking drill. This will go on until long after dark, under lights, so that is the end of the day's photos. But...

I want to throw in some photos from this Sunday's grower market in West Reading. It's part of my fall color, and will also soon be gone for the winter. Stoudt's Orchards is where I get those #10 apples I keep raving about. I like how they offer samples of each variety, and baskets of seconds for those of us that go home and make jam.

Go Fish Seafood had a new stand there this week. They are a vendor at the Fairground's Market, and recently opened a storefront in West Reading. DD15 used to work at the market stand, and now we are spoiled for cheap grocery store seafood. They will only sell at the market on cooler spring and fall Sundays next year.

B&H Produce is one of the stands were I have been stocking up on carrots and celeriac. I will also be buying organic wheat berries from them. I hope they will grow more spelt next year.

So, that's my fall tour. I didn't really get "downtown" yesterday, where there are some nice trees and other plantings. Maybe another post on another day, if the rain doesn't take all the leaves.


amanda said...

living in the city looks pretty good!

d.a. said...

Very pretty! I sometimes miss having the Fall colors from back East; the Hill Country here in Texas gets a little bit of coloring, but not much. On the other hand, I still get to wear shirtsleeves and shorts during the days *grin*!

Verde said...

Wow, what a pretty place. It's good to see the beauty besides just the economic stuff.

Matriarchy said...

I will have to revisit this post in dirty-snow-clad February, when I find the city at its least appealing.

Maybe I can do an architecture post then, when I can see things through leafless trees.

d.a., warmth really attracts me, but having grown up with season change, I think I would miss it. I should come visit Texas when the dirty snow gets to me. :-)

fullfreezer said...

Hi. I found you via Phelan's site. My husband is originally from Reading and we lived there briefly and then in Bethlehem for a few years before moving on. It's nice to see it again. I always loved the mountains in the fall. Glad to see they're renovating the pagoda. My husband was curious if the giant peace sign is still visible on the side of Mt Penn?

Matriarchy said...

It's so fun to make find local or former-local people through blogs from some other place! I added your blog to my feedreader - looks like we read a lot of the same blogs. We have too much on our plates right now to try Pioneer Week this time.

The peace sign is still there, but the trees have grown up in front of it. I will try to take a photo of it once the leaves drop. My kids hike up to it from our house.

I like living at the "top" of the city at the edge of the mountain. We are definitely urban, but not disconnected from trees and rocks and other things alive. :-)

eunice said...

i personally appreciate this as i've been planning to make a special trip out of Chicago to see the fall foliage as i do every year and it never fails...i never do. thanks for the lovely pics, Matriarchy.