Fall at the Garden

Loving Late Fall Color

Think fall color disappears in October? Nope. The first week of November is still prime time for leaf peeping at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  

As the Garden’s photographer, I talk up the red, gold, and burnt-orange foliage in early November, but no one really believes me. So I looked back through my archive and found evidence to prove my case. 
 
Check out the dates below. In my experience, early November can be an especially glorious time for photos. Under ideal conditions—cool nights, no damaging wind or rain storms, little frost—the color can hold fast or even deepen. After our spectacular early fall color, we might have a shorter color season this year, depending on the weather. But we’re hoping that the November foliage will put on quite a show, even if some of the leaves have fallen.

 

Evening island in fall

Evening Island

November 2, 2009

The crabapple berries are fire-engine red—more stunning than in spring. Sumac holds out through the rain and wind. At the fork in the path, the gingko tree glows.

 

Esplanade in fall

Esplanade

November 4, 2011

On the dramatic allée, the commendation elms usually hold their leaves until the end of the season.

 

Willows in the fall

Willows everywhere!

November 16, 2005

Willow trees are our last trees to turn fully golden. If you are visiting in mid-late November, I recommend walking around the Great Basin, where you will find willows gracefully framing the Serpentine and Arch Bridges.

 

Evening island in fall

Evening Island

November 2, 2009

The crabapple berries are fire-engine red—more stunning than in spring. Sumac holds out through the rain and wind. At the fork in the path, the gingko tree glows.
 

 

Japanese Garden in fall

Malott Japanese Garden

November 5, 2020

Look for the reflection of subtle fall colors in the water. I shot this picture from the Zig-Zag Bridge.

 

Spider Island Fall

Spider Island

November 3, 2008

The (not yet) bald cypress stands out in cinnamon-orange near the bridge.

 

Bulb Garden in the fall

Graham Bulb Garden

November 3, 2021

Willow trees are our last trees to turn fully golden. If you are visiting in mid-late November, I recommend walking around the Great Basin where you will find willows gracefully framing the Serpentine and Arch Bridges.
 

 

Larch in the fall

Shida Evaluation Garden

November 9, 2010 (before the Evaluation Garden opened)

This November, I’m looking forward to photographing the still-developing Shida Evaluation Garden on the south end of our campus. Larch trees line the curving paths, and I’ve been keeping my eye on them already. If the photo of larch trees above is any indication, late fall color will be stunning!

 
Author:
Robin Carlson
Title:
Photography Manager
Published: