Colorful Fall Foliage or, The Best I Could Do Considering What I Have to Work With

Facebook friends from around the country are posting pictures of colorful fall foliage.

Last week I walked around our apartment complex and snapped a few shots of our foliage. Most of the trees around us are live oak, post oak, pecan, and Ashe juniper (a vicious allergen, known in Central Texas as cedar, and loudly cursed for several weeks every winter).

I got one shot of an anemic crepe myrtle, but it didn’t turn out.

Speaking of crepe myrtles, back in Mrs. Dauchy’s second grade [Hi, Cullen], we were instructed to gather pretty leaves, put them between two sheets of wax paper, and iron them to make pretty placemats.

My yard boasted a number of trees—pecan, elm, ash, hackberry, peach, chinaberry—but no pretty leaves.

Three huge crepe myrtles lined the street on the north side of the house, and one grew at the end of the driveway, and in summer, when they bloomed, they were gorgeous.


But in the fall, the little green leaves got a few reddish-brownish-yellowish-deadish spots. Then they fell off.

My mother suggested I go across the street and ask Miss Essie Langley if I might have some leaves from her something-or-other tree—big yellow leaves, they’d have made lovely placemats.

I was shy. I wouldn’t ask.

Note: The Langleys were our wonderful neighbors. We often sat in their yard on summer evenings, and Mother and Miss Essie were always back and forth across the street. Mr. Will gave me two rat terrier puppies when the mama dog that lived on his farm had litters. Miss Essie would have been pleased to give me some leaves.

But I was shy. And stubborn.

My mother said she wasn’t going to ask Miss Essie for me.

So I ended up with a bunch of ugly little crepe myrtle leaves ironed between two sheets of wax paper.

But I’m sure I wasn’t the only second-grader in my class—or in the whole of Central Texas, for that matter—with ugly placemats. Even the socially inclined would have had trouble finding colorful fall foliage.


Fall foliage, Austin, Texas.

This is, of course, only a small sample. Some places are lovely.
But all in all, we save our color for spring.

Multiple pictures of colorful leaves
are actually several shots of the same tree.



Image of crepe myrtle blossoms by Deborah Jackson from Pixabay

Image of giant crepe myrtle by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

Images of fall foliage in Austin by Kathy.

4 thoughts on “Colorful Fall Foliage or, The Best I Could Do Considering What I Have to Work With

  1. Mornin’, Cathy. I love your reminiscences about Fentress. Just as a reminder, in your list of trees at your house in Fentress, you left off the one with the prettiest leaves–the sycamore. The ladies of the Methodist Church (Norma Dauchy, Grace Dauchy, Patsy Kimball, and others) chose the largest, prettiest leaf they could find on that old sycamore, traced it onto a sheet of paper, and made cut-outs of that leaf from solid-colored pieces of cloth. Then they sewed them onto a white king-size quilt and sold raffle tickets on it as a fund-raiser for the church (this had to have been in the 1980s). I purchased $100 worth of raffle tickets and was fortunate enough to win the prize! I still have that beautiful quilt. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and call me sometime so we can catch up.


    1. The sycamore was my favorite tree. It hurt me to have to have it take down, but the drought killed it. I’m glad to know about the quilt, and that you have it. It keeps the tree alive for me.


  2. I had to do that in grade school too, and also identify the types of trees. I lost marks for not knowing what a poplar was, but mine was better than the kid who’d forgotten about the assignment and instead of ironing them between wax paper, just scotch-taped them onto bristolboard!


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