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The festival of colors: unique and breathtaking!

Autumn colors © Jardin botanique de Montréal (Michel Tremblay)
The festival of colors: unique and breathtaking!

The festival of colors: unique and breathtaking!

Each autumn, the festival of colors reveals a natural spectacle in which the forests explode in a thousand and one hues. It gives rise to one-of-a-kind landscapes that can be seen almost nowhere else in the world outside the southern regions of Québec and northeastern North America generally. What goes into the creation of these tableaus and makes our forests so spectacular is a harmonious blend of species of tree.

The coloring HERE…

In Québec the natural diversity of hardwood trees is dominated primarily by the sugar maple, which changes to fiery red in the fall, as well as the red maple and the American ash, whose leaves turn purple in mid-September. In addition, a number of companion species turn yellow, such as the white birch, the yellow birch and the American beech. A little farther north, the combination of these hardwood trees with conifers (fir and spruce) creates splotches of green that provide a canvas every bit as extraordinary.

The coloring ELSEWHERE…

In the temperate countries of Europe, Asia or the southern hemisphere, autumn is not characterized by such an effervescence of colors. The forests of our French cousins, for example, have been rather more shaped by human action over time. As a result, today they’re less diversified and much more “arrayed.”

What comes of this are some very beautiful woods with bigger, better spaced trees, but on the other hand less beautiful natural forests. With the arrival of autumn, the countryside serves up shades of yellow orchestrated by the presence of beech trees, oak and chestnut – certainly very pretty, but less stunning than our forests in Québec.

The BEAUTY of the coloring and of biodiversity

The parallel between the beauty of the natural landscapes here and the diversity of the species that make it up is striking. Still, beauty is rarely mentioned as a reason for preserving biodiversity. We often prefer to use more rational reasons in demonstrating the importance of biodiversity, as if the beauty of the world could not in itself be a sufficient argument for taking care of and protecting it. And yet, it’s the beauty of nature that truly excites us and brings us the greatest feelings of joy. Those feelings we enjoy every time we’re exposed to the wild beauty of nature, whether scuba diving, climbing a mountain trail or hiking in a forest. The protection of biodiversity guarantees that our children and our grandchildren will be able to delight in the spectacle of autumn colors themselves and fully appreciate the wild landscapes that nature has designed here and elsewhere. May that come to pass. I imagine that’s what people mean when they sing, Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

Have any questions about this blog?
Consult our Green Pages, or show up at the Botanical Garden’s Horticultural information counter for personalized service. One of our experts will be pleased to give you more information.

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