Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Show of Fall Color...in California?

California is known for many, many things: earthquakes, mudflows, budget deficits, urban crowding, beautiful mountains and coastlines, spectacular deserts, for instance. And Modesto, my homebase, is NOT known for much of anything except, well, George Lucas was born here, and...Gallo Wine is headquartered here. In fact, Modesto regularly shows up on the lists of the "worst 100 places to live". And invariably near the bottom of such lists.

But we do have a special time of year, when Modesto is an exceedingly nice place to live: it's during those few weeks in late autumn when our trees turn. The city may be on a flat featureless 400 mile long plain (the Central Valley), and it may be dry and dusty in summer, foggy and cold in winter, but for these few days, the colors come alive.
Some of the most colorful trees are the Modesto Ash Trees (Fraxinus velutina) that have been planted all over the core of the city. The trees are a good fit in many ways, being drought resistant, and capable of growing well in alkaline soils. They grow fast and tall, although there are problems when their shallow roots encounter streets and sidewalks. For these couple of weeks, they are some of the most beautiful sights to see in our fair city.

And despite what they say, Modesto isn't that bad!

This is Callan Bentley's fault by the way. He was showing fall colors over at Mountain Beltway this week...

3 comments:

Gaelyn said...

You're right. I don't think of Modesto on top of my "to live" list. Yet these fall colors are brilliant.

Martha Z said...

The central valley does have beautiful fall color and Modesto does have one important plus. It is much closer to Yosemite than I am in Lincoln.

mountainbeltway said...

Touché!