Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Goldenrod as a source of colorful fall foliage

with 45 comments

I think most people’s fondness for goldenrod (Solidago sp.) comes from its cheery yellow or yellow-orange flower heads. Less often noticed is that its drying leaves are sometimes a good source of fall color. I made both photographs at the Riata Trace Pond on November 9th. (By the way, as recently as last week I was still seeing a few goldenrod plants with flowers on them.)

Like the two ladies’ tresses pictures featured here three days ago, this pair of photographs contrasts a soft approach using morning light and a wide aperture with a starker approach using flash and a smaller aperture.

⧗             ⧗


Here are two good articles in support of free speech and a diversity of viewpoints.

Higher Ed’s Free Speech Death Spiral,” by Nathan Harden.

Monomania Is Illiberal and Stupefying,” by Jonathan Haidt.

The first paragraph in the second article includes links to 15 more articles! Happy reading.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 9, 2021 at 4:31 AM

45 Responses

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  1. The colours are lovely. If these leaves were in my backyard they would soon find themselves being pressed and prepared for a new role in my large bowl of pot pourri.


    December 9, 2021 at 5:22 AM

    • From comments on this blog I became aware that it’s not unusual for gardeners in Europe to plant goldenrod. Is that true in NZ too? Have you ever planted any?

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 9, 2021 at 7:33 AM

      • Apparently there is goldenrod in NZ gardens. I don’t think I have seen any in my neighbourhood. So far the only goldenrod I have noticed in NZ is a recipe for goldenrod eggs in my old NZ recipe book. The recipe is similar to this one. https://www.southernliving.com/recipes/goldenrod-eggs


        December 9, 2021 at 8:01 PM

        • I’ve not heard of goldenrod eggs, but we have a wildflower here whose common name is scrambled eggs:

          Over easy

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 9, 2021 at 10:14 PM

          • The scrambled eggs are a lovely yellow but they don’t look much like the scrambled eggs I make. Maybe my scrambled eggs are a failure!


            December 10, 2021 at 1:10 AM

  2. You’ve found a good source for fall colour in TX!! I love that pinky red in the top red of natural light, and the rusty deeper red the flash brought out. Nicely done!


    December 9, 2021 at 7:25 AM

    • Merci. When I read your phrase “pinky red” I thought not of the color pink but of the littlest finger on a hand.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 9, 2021 at 7:43 AM

      • LOL! I guess I should have used a different descriptive word, but I am waiting for the kettle to boil so haven’t had my first cuppa yet. I need some tea to kick start my brain.

        De rien mon ami! 😀


        December 9, 2021 at 7:46 AM

        • You’ve made me wonder whether linguists have studied the difference in use between the suffix -y, as in homey and grungy, and the suffix -ish, as in bookish, boyish, and pertinent to your comment, pinkish.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 10, 2021 at 8:07 AM

          • I would say, If I thought of it someone else surely has! I wonder too if many of the words I add ish to are even real words? Real as recognized in the dictionary.


            December 10, 2021 at 8:52 AM

            • Follow your chain backwards: if someone thought of a thing before you, then wouldn’t someone else also have thought of it before that person? Somebody had to be the first, and it could have been you.

              People say many things that don’t catch on and never make it into a dictionary. Usually a word has been in circulation orally for some time before it appears in writing, and longer before it gets common enough to end up in a dictionary.

              Steve Schwartzman

              December 10, 2021 at 9:06 AM

    • And yesterday several ash trees provided another source of fall color. I’m so backed up in posting that I probably won’t get around to showing it for a couple of weeks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 9, 2021 at 7:46 AM

      • I’ll wait! 😀


        December 9, 2021 at 7:47 AM

        • The suspense mounts. I guess it’s better to have too many pictures waiting than too few.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 9, 2021 at 7:49 AM

          • That’s true!!


            December 9, 2021 at 7:58 AM

            • The one downside is that some of the delayed pictures no longer coincide with what’s happening in nature at the time of posting.

              Steve Schwartzman

              December 9, 2021 at 8:07 AM

              • C’est vrai, and why I end up not posting things I captured and just move on to the next thing or season. My hard drives are full of images yet to be seen or processed. You’re not alone in this regard.


                December 9, 2021 at 8:37 AM

                • Sometimes when a picture gets too outdated I schedule it for the following year on the same date I took it. And if I’m too busy with new pictures then, I’ve occasionally bumped the old picture down the line another year. That’s made me wonder whether elderly bloggers have ever scheduled any posts years ahead so that people will suddenly hear from them after they’re dead.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 9, 2021 at 9:00 AM

                • Oh, now there’s an interesting thought!! I wonder how far ahead you can actually schedule a post…does WP limit that?


                  December 9, 2021 at 11:25 AM

                • I experimented just now: WP let me schedule a post for 2050! I don’t know how much farther it would have let me go.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 9, 2021 at 12:14 PM

                • Wow, that’s a ways out! I wonder if WP will even be around then? I hope to be!! 😀


                  December 9, 2021 at 12:16 PM

                • I have doubts that WP will still exist in 2050. It’s highly unlikely I’ll be here then.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 9, 2021 at 2:04 PM

  3. It’s a really good source of autumn reds. I’d been thinking of having goldenrod for wildlife but the colouring would be another reason to grow it.

    Ann Mackay

    December 9, 2021 at 8:01 AM

    • Two for the price of one, so to speak.

      As you know, the climate this far south is warm enough that we don’t get grand fall foliage. All the more reason to appreciate and promote the smaller-scale colors we do get in autumn.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 9, 2021 at 8:05 AM

      • I think the mild temperatures prevent us from getting much bright autumn foliage here too – so we appreciate whatever we do get!

        Ann Mackay

        December 9, 2021 at 10:10 AM

        • I always think of your part of the world as having real winters, but apparently that’s not as true as it once was.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 9, 2021 at 12:10 PM

          • The UK varies hugely. This area is much milder than further north. Scotland could have very cold winters with lots of snow and fierce winds, but it does seem that it is less harsh than it used to be. But you never know when there could be some really wintry weather!

            Ann Mackay

            December 10, 2021 at 7:36 PM

            • As people found out this past February in Austin, much to their dismay—which included days of subfreezing temperature without power and heat, and burst pipes for some.

              Steve Schwartzman

              December 10, 2021 at 10:06 PM

              • That must have been miserable! We have people in the UK without power for over 11 days (I’ve lost count) after recent bad storms. (And it has been cold and snowy where they are.)

                Ann Mackay

                December 11, 2021 at 6:46 AM

                • The temperature in our house dropped to 6°C. We slept in sleeping bags with blankets piled on top of them. We pulled out a camping stove we hadn’t used in decades and fortunately found a couple of full canisters of fuel for it as well, so we were able to boil water and cook food in the alcove outside our front door. Luckily none of our pipes burst. I’ll commiserate with the people still without power over there.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 11, 2021 at 7:32 AM

                • A camping stove is a great thing to keep handy for power cuts – maybe we should have one too! We have a woodburner which came in handy a couple of years ago when they decided to renew our gas pipes in the winter. (Fortunately they were able to do it quickly and we were only without it for a day or so.)

                  Ann Mackay

                  December 12, 2021 at 10:56 AM

                • We’d kept the camping stove through inertia rather than intentionally, but it sure saved the day. Our house has a fireplace but in our 17 years here we’ve never used it. Some of our neighbors used their fireplaces for warmth and even cooking.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 12, 2021 at 1:55 PM

                • Many older houses in the north of Scotland had a Rayburn – a sort of range cooker that used solid fuel. (Very like an Aga.) It was a lifesaver when there were long power-cuts.

                  Ann Mackay

                  December 13, 2021 at 4:30 AM

                • I had to look up Rayburn stoves, which I’d never heard of. Looks like Rayburn is a brand within AGA:


                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 13, 2021 at 5:53 AM

                • Yes, I think Aga took them over later.

                  Ann Mackay

                  December 13, 2021 at 12:47 PM

                • Bigger companies eat littler ones (and sometimes the other way around).

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 13, 2021 at 2:40 PM

  4. The thought of scheduling posts to outlive us really made me laugh. I considered taking the next step and giving someone my password, so they could do some date changing and schedule a post each year on the anniversary of my death, but then I realized that would give them the power to mess with my blog in other ways I might not approve of. So, that idea’s been shelved.

    I’m intrigued by the color in the first photo, and how closely it resembles the similar photo of the ladies’ tresses. The colors aren’t the same, but they somehow seem related. It might be the watercolor-like feel of the image. Neither is particularly ‘pastel,’ but there’s a certain translucence to both that’s very pleasing.


    December 9, 2021 at 7:48 PM

    • You’d need someone else to put out posts on the anniversary of your death, but on your own you could schedule posts for your birthday or other significant day(s). It probably violates WordPress’s terms of service (dead people are prohibited from posting), but the company might not catch on that the posts are coming from someone who’s died.

      I think what makes the first goldenrod image resemble the first one of the ladies’ tresses is the wide aperture and the resulting softness that some might describe as painterly.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 9, 2021 at 10:11 PM

  5. When you present them, they get a little extra!


    December 10, 2021 at 12:38 AM

  6. That article on monomania I found most interesting. Educational institutions have a lot to answer to.


    December 10, 2021 at 4:26 AM

    • Jonathan Haidt has come up with many good insights. He’s now a champion for free speech and heterodox viewpoints.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 10, 2021 at 7:53 AM

  7. Lovely fall colours … my favourite season


    December 15, 2021 at 12:09 PM

    • We’re not fully out of fall yet. Except for one morning it’s been an unusually warm December.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 15, 2021 at 1:13 PM

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