before and after photo hunt

before, autumn begins

I noticed how similar the shape of a cicada wing was to the shape of a maple seed. In this sculpture I decided to merge the two.
~ Sam Spiczka
(“Cicada Maple Seed” sculpture)

after, autumn ends

This is my selection for Karma’s Before & After Photo Hunt. The sculpture was taken down shortly after the second picture, much to my disappointment, as I thought it would be great for a four season series. But it will do well enough for this before-and-after autumn. Most of the leaves on this beautiful southern sugar maple have stayed on the tree for the winter, a good example of marcescence. It’s become my favorite tree in the North Carolina Botanical Garden.

19 thoughts on “before and after photo hunt”

  1. Beautiful sculpture. I love how you captured it in different seasons. Did they sell the sculpture? I noticed when we were there that a lot of the various sculptures and pieces of art were for sale.

    1. For some reason this sculpture captivated me, maybe because something made of rebar could turn out to look so delicate. Most of the sculptures were for sale so I imagine this one was finally sold, too.

  2. A sugar maple that doesn’t lose its leaves? Hmm, I’ve never heard of such a thing. Ours definitely are all bare at this time of year. The wings provide an interesting decoration, I think.

    1. I thought that maybe the leaves stayed on because this was a southern sugar maple, native to NC. But I did a little google research and found this: “Young sugar maples often retain their dead, dried leaves throughout the winter instead of shedding them in the fall. … Not dropping the leaves is called marcescence, and it could help the young tree in several ways.” Although I’m used to seeing beech and oak leaves staying on trees all winter, this was the first maple I ever noticed doing that.

  3. I love it – very cool choice for your before and after! That is a really neat sculpture as well, too bad they took it down. I love botanical gardens; how nice that you have one near by to visit as you wish!

    1. Thank you, Karma! I do feel lucky living near two botanical gardens, actually, although I haven’t gotten over to Duke Gardens in neighboring Durham yet. It helps make up for moving away from the ocean.

  4. That’s interesting and the word “marcescence” was new to me Barbara. I have a Japanese Weeping Lace-Leaf Maple and it used to lose its leaves in Fall like a deciduous tree and now I have to pull off the leaves in Spring so new growth can occur.

    1. I found this interesting article for you, Linda, “The Mystery of Marcescence.” You shouldn’t need to pull the leaves off your maple in the spring because the expanding buds will push the old leaves off. It may have stopped losing those leaves in the fall to protect itself from something different in its environment.

      1. Thank you for this article Barbara – I had no idea. I worried about my little tree after I have babied it since planting it in 1985. In fact, the first three or four years, I completely covered it in burlap each Winter to ensure it was protected from the cold and wind. It did not do much for the house decor. Thanks again!

        1. You’re welcome, Linda! May your Japanese Weeping Lace-Leaf Maple survive through many more winters. I found some pictures of it online. I took some pictures of a 110 year-old Japanese threadleaf maple at a state park back in Connecticut in the spring a few years ago.

          1. I hope so Barbara. One year we had a mild Spring – too mild really and it leafed out. In those days I was walking to the Park daily, not driving (which I do as the mechanic says even if you drive a few miles daily it is good for it) (so of course, I must take more peanuts as there are more laps at the Park). Anyway, I saw several of my tree, all leafed out, then we had a hard freeze – all these Japanese Weeping Lace-Leaf Maples got freezer burn and that year had brown leaves. That was the year Michigan had big losses for cherry and apple crops. Michigan has a lot of cherry and apple trees.

          2. So sad, those premature thaws followed by hard freezes are ruinous for gardens and agriculture. The poor plants can only do their best to cope with such unpredictable climate and freak weather conditions.

          3. I’m glad our cool down is not immediate like happened with the Polar Vortex a few weeks ago. The change in temps in the course of one day then was 30 degrees – not good for the crops at all.

  5. If the cicada wing structure was for sale, I’m not surprised it sold. It’s lovely – I wouldn’t mind one like that in my garden. There’s quite a difference between your before and after shots. I wonder if they will hang another interesting structure from the tree for your four seasons comparison … you should ask if the will. 🙂

    1. The botanical garden has this outdoor sculpture show every fall and most of the works by local artists are for sale. They might use the tree for something different next year, depending on what sorts of creations are submitted. A portion of the proceeds go to benefit the botanical garden. I might just bring something from home for a photo shoot in the tree one of these days. 🙂

    1. It doesn’t seem likely that this sculpture will return but maybe the artist will have a new submission, just as beautiful, next fall.

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