As a relatively recent college graduate, I’m still adjusting to living back home in Virginia. I attended school in Pennsylvania, and a large part of why I chose that school is I think because I visited in October, when the colors looked something like this:
This is the first Virginia fall I’ve seen in three years, and I must confess I was a little sad to know that I would be missing those bright PA colors. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the amount of color that’s showed up this year. It got me asking, what is it that makes those vivid colors? Obviously maintaining proper tree care – ensuring that your trees have enough water and such – will play a part. And I remember words like “chlorophyll” and “pigment” from my elementary school education, but that’s about as far as I got. So I hunted for some articles explaining the process, and came across a few good ones. Did you know that the pigments that turn leaves red or orange are the same pigments that color carrots and strawberries? I probably should’ve known this, but I didn’t.
Why Do Leaves Change Color In The Fall? – Inexpensive Tree Care
Oct 16, 2013 … What makes a tree’s leaves change from green to yellow and red is actually always present in the leaf. It’s the shorter days and cooler nights …
Some years the colors stick around longer than others, but here in Virginia I don’t think they last quite as long as they do farther north. I’m always a little sad when the color peak has passed. But in the articles I was perusing about fall colors a number of people suggested preserving these colors by pressing leaves. I remember having a lot of fun doing this as a kid. I had a flower press (which is, incidentally, pretty easy to make), but you can just as easily use a stack of books. If this idea interest you, check out the following video:
You can use pressed leaves and flowers to make stationary, bookmarks, cards, really anything you want. Or you could scatter a few pressed leaves on your Thanksgiving table to add a little fall flavor. Why not enjoy some Virginia fall color a little longer?