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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n20)
Right in my Own Backyard - Oh, Those Autumn Leaves - by Brandt Carter
posted: Oct. 05, 2007

Right in my Own Backyard header

Oh, Those Autumn Leaves

Orange, gold, rust, brown, red - these are the colors of autumn. Indiana bursts with color just before winter's dark, barren landscape takes hold. Trees give us a veritable riot of color as days shorten.
I am lucky to have a wonderful assortment of colorful fall trees in my yard: red sunset maples, the gingko's yellow, radiant sunrise maple, redbud, and tulip trees, deep purple, orange, and yellow of the sweet gum, the dogwood and burning bush's reds, and brown of the pin oak. Together my trees form a palette of rich tones.
I don't think I will ever get too old to resist picking up a pretty leaf on a walk. I have always used nature's beauty to decorate. I sprinkle my tables with colored leaves to bring the outdoors inside and use leaves in flower arrangements. I have used colored leaves as name tags and table place cards, writing names on them with a gold pen.
There was a time when I filled a large, manila envelop with fall's first colored leaves and sent it to my kids when they lived in the south. They have since moved home and don't need this autumn reminder service anymore. I kind of miss the tradition.
For several years, I have watched a neighbor and her husband park in front of my sunset maple in the late afternoon. She slowly walks over to the tree and picks up handfuls of leaves to take home. I don't know what she does with them, but I imagine she shares my love of nature and wants to gather it around her this time of year.
Take time this year to focus on the fall color - and maybe even bring some leafy jewels indoors. These natural treasures are free and no one seems to mind if you lighten their raking chores a tiny bit.

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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Brought to you by: Broad Ripple collector pins
Brought to you by: Broad Ripple collector pins