Letter: Glimpses of copper, brass and gold brighten autumn

Letter: Glimpses of copper, brass and gold brighten autumn


wild grapeTo the editor:

During the summer it would have been hard to see how the wild grape vines were rampaging up the highest trees and cascading over shrubs. Once their leaves had turned golden I hope you had a chance to see their amazing growth. Of course we don’t get to see the blazing reds that inland people have, but I really liked the more subdued blends of copper, brass and gold on our trees.

Now that the leaves are pretty much whipped off perhaps you will get to see the little twisted yellow flowers of our native witch hazel. They are sparsely scattered along the branches, very unlike their oriental cousins which gladden our hearts in February and March with their glorious bursts of yellow.

For some years I have wanted to plant bulbs of Camassia or quamash, as the Native Americans called it. I thought it was native to New England but find it is a western bulb. After the flowers withered the bulbs were gathered and roasted providing a good food source as they were sweeter than sweet potatoes. Lewis and Clark learned to use them to supplement their diet.

I found several dampish places where cardinal flowers and the invasive purple loosestrife like to grow so I think they will be happy even if they are not indigenous. I will know come May when I hope to see two foot tall “long racemes of of pale to deep blue-violet flowers.”

On the same page of the catalog from which I was ordering the Camasia I noticed that Spring Meadow Saffron bulbs were being offered. How could I resist “a little ruffian who’s hidden too long from American Gardens.” ( The quotes are from the McClure & Zimmerman Fall Catalog.)

My very small spaniel has a big cache of ancestral hunting genes and if we go for a sunny stroll mid-day he finds that the small brown grasshoppers provide a very exciting prey and when caught a good dietary supplement. In the late afternoon they are gone but by then the rabbits are out and he runs back and forth with his nose to the ground. When we get into deer territory I have a hard time holding him even though he only weighs 13 pounds. I like this time of day as the westerly sun picks out the red berries on the deciduous hollies and the occasional stag horn sumac.

Next month there may not be much to report and we will just try to enjoy the winter stars and hope that we have really escaped the fall hurricanes.

Sidney Tynan

Little Compton