If you like the changing colors of the trees, the Ozarks is the place to be around this time of year. The first year after we bought this house, I realized I had never seen such a gorgeous array of fall colors from my window in my life. That was when I realized that I was going to be happy here forever. Well, that and the amazing wildlife, the lake, Branson, Silver Dollar City, and all that other fantastic stuff we have enjoyed since we moved here.
Fall Colors All Over
It is not just the trees that turn beautiful colors in the fall. There are hundreds of different types of bushes, shrubs, and flowers that are showing off their colors. But the trees are the most popular of course. Some of the best in the Ozarks include the oak, dogwood, sycamore, maple, sassafras, hickory, sweetgum, birch, aspen, and black gum. There are many more, but I already wrote an article about them, so I do not want to be redundant. You will just have to go and read my last article.
Beautiful Bushes and Spectacular Shrubs
Enough about the trees. How about those shrubs, right? Actually, a lot of the colorful fall foliage is bushes and shrubs with dark red and orange leaves that last even longer than the trees. Most of them do not really lose their leaves until winter so their color sticks around a bit longer and is brighter than the average autumn tree. Here are a few pretty ones you may enjoy seeing:
- Winged euonymus (Euonymus alata) is a popular bush in North America that pretty much takes over wherever it grows. They actually consider it an invasive plant in many areas, but I think it is gorgeous. The nickname “burning bush” came from this beauty, which turns dark red during the fall and into the winter.
- Sumac (Rhus copallina) is another red bush that grows wild in North America but this one is also found in Africa and Asia as well. Their purplish-red leaves are shiny and winged and will stay low to the ground up to about 24 inches tall.
- American cranberry bush (Viburnum trilobum) is not just a pretty red bush, it also smells great. It is large and vibrant and even has bright red berries all the way into winter.
- Showy Lantern (Redvein Enkianthus) is a scarlet color bush that comes from Asia. It is the cousin of the azalea and shows off its beautiful color all season long.
- Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) has a weird name but is one of the prettiest red bushes there are. It also has red berries (chokeberries).
- Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) proves that you do not have to be red to be pretty. This big green beauty is a perennial that stays green all year long.
Mums (Chrysanthemum) and Asters (Asteraceae) are both excellent fall flowers. The mum is known for its fall beauty and come in all different colors from yellow to red to purple. In fact, both mums and asters are similar in that respect. There are dozens of color combinations and varieties. Some actually look like a daisy with the white petals and yellow center while others can look almost like a rose. This is true for both of these flowers. Taking care of them will make them last longer so make sure you do some deadheading and keep them shaded so they do not burn out before fall is over. When they do start to die down, cut them and make some flower arrangements around the house to keep them around a bit longer.
Okay, so we have gone over the trees, shrubs, and flowers but what else is there about fall that is so awesome? How about the sunsets? Late October and early November have the most amazingly colorful sunsets. Why? The clouds are higher, and the air is drier. The blue wavelengths we see more of in the spring and summer give way to more orange and red because the blue color is scattered due to the distance they have to travel. Yeah, if you want to know more about that, you can read this cool article by my friend Melody Rose.
Enjoy the Pumpkin Patch
You cannot forget the pumpkin patch. Seriously, even if your kids are grown, you should go to the pumpkin patch every year. Go on the hayride and through the corn maze. And many of these places have petting zoos with goats and other awesome animals. You do not have to be a little kid to enjoy petting a cute little goat. Those pygmy goats are adorable. And you cannot forget that they have pumpkins, squash, apples, and other things you can sample and buy. How about a juicy apple covered in thick caramel? Yeah, you can still enjoy them as much as you did when you were little. Stay young at heart. It helps you live a longer and happier life.