In the middle of the worse heat wave, perhaps in the history of where I live, the early signs of fall have started. What, in August? We get the majority of our fall color in late October through mid November. Sometimes the seasons do mix up. I live in one of those places known for the adage: if you don't like the weather, stick around for a day. Summer doesn't have quite the variation of other seasons but even in the hot months we can have an unseasonably cool spell. Even so, I'm baffled by why some of the leaves would be confused in the middle of August. I tried to find out but I don't understand. The amount of sun light is a signal and that signal isn't there yet.
If it was an isolated leaf like the one in the first photo, I'd chalk it up to a singular confused young bush but that's not it. The dogwood leaves in the second picture have started to change. After I noticed the bush, I checked out the dogwoods. The dogwoods are among the first trees to change colors where I live. The photograph above is an exaggerated view of the early changes in the dogwood because I had to close in on a cluster of leaves in one spot to see that they were beginning their change. That little dab of color is surrounded by thousands of green leaves (maybe hundreds but it seems like thousands).Perhaps if the question keeps bugging me, I'll try to do some more reading and look for clues. I know the amount of rainfall can be a factor in the fall color as well as other variables. None of the variables I've read about can account for a preview to fall during a heat wave in the middle of August, long before the leaves are scheduled to change. I have a theory but I doubt it will be widely accepted.My theory is connected to the flower fairies and wood nymphs who have set up housekeeping in my garden. I suspect this may be the work of the wood nymphs in particular. They are the ones who moved in after so much of their habitat was demolished by housing projects. They noticed that my wild yard has far more hiding places than your average yard which is manicured on a regular basis. They think as far as humans go I'm at least marginally better than the noisy ones with their leaf blowers and gas lawnmowers. The Queen of the Wood Nymphs noticed how droopy I've been lately. She issued paint brushes to her army and instructed them to start painting a few leaves with bright colors to cheer me up and remind me that fall is on the way. Therefore, for the next few weeks while I'm looking for seeds on my favorite flowers which will signal the promise of future flowers, I'll also keep my eyes open for the handiwork of the wood nymphs and be grateful for the fall preview.