Golden autumn glow

If I were to wager a guess as to what color is the most striking  – the most eye-catching color of autumn, I would have to say it would be the bright scarlet, oranges and reds of the majority of trees in my local area. Having said that, today I want to point out some extraordinary fall-foliage plants whose primary color is yellow.

Cerciciphyllum japonicum 'Morioka Weeping'
This Cerciciphyllum japonicum ‘Morioka Weeping’ begins to glow in the early morning sun.

One of the first plants to catch my eye this morning, just as the sun was beginning to peak up over the distant hills was Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Morioka Weeping’. This deciduous, broad-leaved tree is covered with roundish, almost heart-shaped leaves. Right now, these normally green leaves are turning a deliciously warm shade of yellow with a hint of orange. I noticed yesterday how nicely the tree was coloring up, but this morning, as it was hit with that low sunrise, the tree began to glow in a spectacular way. Most of the garden remained in the darkness of early morning, hint of frost on the edges of my conifers, but this wonderful pendulous tree was lit up and beckoning to the other plants, “Wake up, it’s a beautiful day!”

Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Gold Rush'
Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’ provides a stunning golden-yellow color from spring through fall

I finished my breakfast and continued to watch the show outside my picture window as the bright autumn sunrise steadily climbed and shot its spotlight on another golden deciduous tree – this time, a conifer. Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’ is a dazzling golden conifer all year-round. It’s new growth emerges a soft yet very bright yellow and seems to become more intensely bright as the season progresses. Finally, with the cooler temperatures that autumn bring, the bright yellow foliage begins to exhibit a hint of red which gives the long branchlets and overall golden hue. Again, this color continues to intensify until all of the foliage drops to the ground, creating quite a colorful carpet of gold beneath the then, bare framework of the Golden Dawn Redwood.

Soon, my Larix, Taxodium and  Pseudolarix will also turn their assorted shades of golden-yellow and drop their needles in anticipation of our coming winter months. I look forward to the intense shots of color those deciduous conifers will provide while making way for more late season sunlight to fall into my garden with the absence of their foliar screens.

Ed-
Conifer Lover

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2 thoughts on “Golden autumn glow

    1. Hi David – I’ve known about the dual names for ‘Gold Rush/Ogon’ for a number of years, but I hadn’t ever bothered to do any research on the reason for this naming problem. Here is what I have discovered so far: According to the Iseli catalog, the Dutch nurseryman, Peiter Zwignenburg introduced the plant known in Japan as ‘Ogon’ with the name ‘Gold Rush’. I presume he was thinking that this would be a more marketable name in the “western world”, but I do not know that to be a fact as to the reason he changed the name.

      Iseli has propagated and sold the tree with that name since they obtained it, only later to become aware of the nomenclature controversy. After speaking with the folks at Iseli, I can certainly understand sticking with a name that has stronger market appeal to the end consumer. Folks who are sticklers about the absolute accuracy of the names of the plants in their collections may prefer to change their records and/or garden tags from ‘Gold Rush’ to ‘Ogon’. Other folks will just be happy to have such a great tree in their garden! The good news is that both ‘Ogon’ and ‘Gold Rush’ are the same tree, so collectors will not need to feel compelled to grow both.

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