The colors and thoughts that fall |

The colors and thoughts that fall

M.G. Gallagher

It’s nice to be back after a couple of family crisis scares, but everything is fine. What a beautiful time of year to live in the Rocky Mountain. Perhaps at no other time of year is the dramatic impact of the wonderful beauty of nature so obvious. This year’s fall turning-of-the-leaves is again one of the best. I would also like to suggest that you take the time to make a special trip, whether it be a drive or a hike, to take in the array of colors that are exploding around us. To heck with the Fourth of July fireworks. This is Mother Nature’s fall fireworks display.The drive to Leadville is spectacular at this time of year. Not only are the aspens intermingling with the passing greens, there are also some stands of the elusive “red” aspens on the way. These are pockets of aspens that turn a reddish tinge instead of yellow, and they are something.I drive the length of the county several days a week. I-70? No way. The up-close scenery of Highway 6 is where it’s at. From I-70, one misses the bright and the subtle variations of red, pink, orange, rust, along with the prolific yellow. (Just be sure and watch the road, too.)While the fall beauty is quite a sight, I would like to suggest thatinstead of just something to please the eye, that it also gives reason to think about the importance of our natural world, and its ever-shrinking existence. Let’s face it. No matter where you come from in the political spectrum, you cannot deny that pollution exists, and worldwide, natural environments are being destroyed for profit.I would like all to stop and think about the future, and its potential scenarios. I’m not going to portray them for you, but at the rate we are going, if we all don’t change our attitudes about saving our planet, it will be too late some day.Our “leaders” aren’t necessarily going to fix things. Only the people’s will can. Think about this: Can we have a healthy environment and a healthy economy? I think that man is smart enough to, but are we conscientious enough? Right now, I say that some are, and too many are not.Enough philosophizing. Back to plants. During the fall, it is a good time to shop for trees and shrubs that turn color, but can have variable color from plant to plant. One good example is one of my very favorites, Amur maple. If you are buying the species or the dwarf form, now is the time to observe them, as they are in fall color. You can see a decided difference among individual plants.The column will soon end for the season, so get those questions in. Also, thanks to the many people who have commented favorably on the column!Q & A:Q: An important question came in again from a very important person, “the Pope” – that is to say, the publisher of the Vail Daily (and an accomplished and dedicated gardener. “What can be planted at this time of year?”A: Just about anything that is hardy here. The cooler temperatures are loved by new plants. Actually, you can plant just about anything into November. Really. One exception that comes to mind is Russian sage. If you are going to plant some, plant it now, or wait until spring. The heat of earlier summer can really stress new plantings. Another exception – It’s my opinion that it is still a little early to be planting bulbs, but if you already have, don’t fret. I would wait until the temperatures get a little cooler.M.G. Gallagher writes a column on gardening and landscaping for the Daily. He can be reached at

Support Local Journalism