Wednesday, October 18, 2006

autumn's last hurrah


tamarack gold

Growing up in the suburbs, I didn't know for a long time that tamaracks existed. I remember my dad getting all excited about "discovering" a tamarack bog in a city park just a mile or so from downtown Minneapolis, on one of his weekly bike rides. I went to college in the southern part of the state, beyond the tamarack's range in this state, and went on to graduate school in South Dakota, where trees are a rarity. ;) When we bought our land here, I was finally botanically aware enough to know that we had some tamaracks around, and from my job I had learned that their wood makes good, long lasting poles.

Still, it has taken a few years of living here, being in touch with the land on an everyday basis, to really know tamaracks. I mean, they are interesting trees; they are the only conifer that completely sheds its needles annually. They do this with quite a brilliant display of gold in the fall, that typically occurs about a week after all the other, deciduous trees have completely lost their leaves. They also turn a unique shade of green in the spring, as the new needles emerge, right about the time other trees are just starting to leaf out. And, there is some variation in tamarack stands; I know of one down on the corner three miles away that is still a light green in color, and last year had shreds of gold at least until December.

Our new house is right in front of a stand of mature tamaracks that extends north to the creek. However, this stand does not show the brightness of gold like some of the younger stands do.

Shine on. Lighten these last days of autumn.

10 comments:

GreenmanTim said...

To my mind there are few Autumn glories to match a stand of golden tamaracks in late afternoon light with dark skies behind. There was such a stand and such a view in my childhood wilderness in upstate New York. There was a reputed Indian burialground nearby - Wappingers band of the Lene Lenape - and tales of "Old Chief Tamarach" last of his tribe, who has a cabin thereabouts in the 1800s.

lené said...

When I was posting a photo of the tamaracks tonight, I thought to myself, I bet Deb's posting tamaracks too (I remembered last year's similar timing). What a nice surprise.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Pennsylavania never really knowing about Tamaracks until I moved to Montana and god how I love 'em. Here we have entire festivals around these beauties.

Deb said...

GreenmanTim- exactly. I wish I could have photographed these tamaracks as a late afternoon sun broke through against the dark skies. A bright sunny day just dulls the gold.

lene- I had to go back to my archives, and it was a nice surprise to see what I had written about tamaracks a year ago! Your photo on Counting Petals outshines my efforts--love the reflection.

Katie- I didn't know there were tamaracks in Montana, but that's the beauty of blogging; you learn so much! Tamaracks are wonderful, aren't they.

Floridacracker said...

The use of the word bog, the deciduous aspect, and the colors keep reminding me of cypress. Are they related???

How about a closeup sometime of the needles for the tamarackless throng to which I belong.

Deb said...

FC- will have to do some research. And I think I can manage a closeup of the needles, if I'm home to get it when there is enough light...it's that dark time of year...

LauraHinNJ said...

Love tamaracks - the needles are sort of feathery like a cypress, aren't they?

GreenmanTim said...

They are also known as the American Larch [or to Python fans as the Larch...the, Larch :-)]

Pam in Tucson said...

Beautiful!

lené said...

You inspired me to pull out my old leaning birch docs from the file cabinet. Sure enough, I posted (and probably you posted) tamaracks on the 17th of October last year. Very funny stuff. I'm always surprised that you and I are seeing the world change as such similar times. Another example I can think of is posting the starflower pics.