subscribe to RSS feed

Nothing gold can stay

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
November 10, 2018

Gold autumn foliage

Nothing gold can stay

So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

These two wonderful lines from Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (first published in 1923) have been constantly in mind this past week as I walked the Arboretum in the early morning and late afternoon, with the angle of the sun low, amidst the pure golds of tulip poplars, sweet gums, hickories, maples, big leaf magnolias, elms, birches, larches, ginkgoes… With several days of brilliant blue skies this week, the Arnold Arboretum literally glowed.

Below is a truly magical scene on the backside of Peters Hill on Thursday, with late afternoon sun turning a backdrop of golden yellow tulip poplars intensely bronze—“but only so an hour” (Frost’s words). Lower left, a wonderful senescing leaf of a big leaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla, 299-2001*A), stooped by age and imminent abscission. Lower right, the fantastic gold of a sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua, 370-50*A).

For a small collection of autumn golds in the Arnold Arboretum, head over to my Flickr page (Arnold Arboretum Gold). And for a bit of a bonus (the last slide in the image set), I captured a short video of a ginkgo tree in the midst of dropping all of its leaves in a single day (it happens!). It rained golden ginkgo leaves as a small puff of wind arrives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *