Grand finale



A few weeks back, Ellis Hollow posted—and I agreed— about the disappointing fall color we’ve had in New York, at least the central and western parts. I may have jumped the gun a bit; just days before Thanksgiving, I’m seeing bursts of orange, red, and yellow everywhere. Some burgundy, too. It seems late to me. Normally, all the color happens in October and November ends up being a pretty drab month. I could be wrong of course, but this year we had the longest summer ever, with 80 degree days through October. Also, who knows what’s going on with these trees; many of them suffered mild to severe damage during last October’s freak storm. I just can’t remember seeing this much color, this late.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. Here in Maryland the weather guessers say the drought has delayed the leaf change and made the colors less brilliant. You wouldn’t know it from looking at the trees around our house. Unbelievably gorgeous.

    –Robin (Bumblebee)

  2. I heard that it’s not the drought but the temperature that delayed the color. Cool nights are needed, something we didn’t have much of here in the mid-Atlantic (I’m in southeastern PA) until about two weeks ago with the first frost. Suddenly that week, there were dramatic color changes, improving ever since.

    I do agree it’s a late show though. Peak color arrived a good two to three weeks later than it usually does. Nice to still have lovely color around Thanksgiving.

  3. Here in east Tennessee the predicted poor show has turned out spectacular, but almost a month late. No complaints though, a beautiful Thanksgiving show for family and friends.

  4. Fall color was late here in RI also but only by a couple weeks or so in the northern area of the state. The suburbs are a different story with many leaves still on the trees. Better late than never but it is curious!

  5. Yesterday it was comical. The trees around our house had leaves on them when we woke up. By 10 a.m. most had fallen – all within 2 hours! My neighbor had raked the day before, but there were thick piles of leaves under each tree, and mostly bare branches above. We’re in Buffalo and we’re just coming into our color now, but apparently changing and dropping almost immediately.

  6. I agree with Bumbleebee Robin, the autumnal colors in the MD-DC-VA area these past weeks and espexially last weekend have been the most stunning in years. Even my usually drab oaks are getting red tinged leaves when they normally fo straight to mud-brown. I’m taking plenty of pics and hoping you are all too.

  7. I was on the Thruway back in mid October, and the colors were spectacular. All that rain meant the fields were unusually lush and springtime-green, making the foliage colors pop even more. For some reason the Buffalo leaves are a few weeks behind.

  8. You are not at all wrong. Buffalo’s peak season is usually the week after Columbus Day. Here in Tennessee our peak comes later, near the end of October. But this year, we’ve just passed our peak about a week ago. Everything’s 3-4 weeks behind schedule — don’t ask me why.

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