A walk along the path

Fall is the perfect time for a calming stroll through nature.

"I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers," L.M. Montgomery wrote in Anne of Green Gables. In Columbia, the autumn scenery should make you glad for this season too.

“It’s a wonderful time of year," says Pete Millier, MU Botanical Garden director. "Fall is just as spectacular as spring here."

Vox rounded up three stunning spots where you might take a breather beneath a red-hued branch or next to a patch of fall flowers. "Go outside and just appreciate the beauty of what nature has provided us," Millier says.

MU Botanic Garden

MU campus

The 735-acre Mizzou Botanic Garden spans the entire campus. Quadrangles bursting with plant life and a park at its northern end make this landmark a must-see.

Four fall standouts

Sugar maple: It has outstanding fall color, Millier says. Watch this maple syrup machine’s notched, lobed leaves go from golden-yellow to scarlet in fall. They’re sure to catch your eye.

Sweet gum: This is the other tree with a fall display Millier says is hard to beat. Catch an array of yellow, orange, red and purple on its star-shaped leaves. Beware the spiky gumballs this tree drops, though. Sturdy soles are a must.

New England aster: Look for this flower’s blue, pink or purple petals wrapped around yellowish-orange centers. Asters also feed migrating monarch butterflies on their voyage to Mexico for winter.

Ginkgo: The leaves resemble hand fans, which are several inches long and turn bright yellow in fall.

Shelter Insurance Gardens

1817 W. Broadway

Looking for a place for picture-perfect picnics or small weddings? Visit the 5-acre Shelter Insurance Gardens for over 300 types of trees and shrubs and 15,000 annuals and perennials.

Four fall standouts

Deciduous holly: This shrubby tree’s red berries are for the birds, not people. Northern mockingbirds and northern cardinals will eat the berries while singing their whistle-like song.

Autumn Brilliance serviceberry: This tree blooms white in spring and yields edible fruit fit for jam or pie in the summer. In fall, its oval, finely serrated leaves shine an orangish-red.

Autumn Joy sedum: This shrub attracts butterflies with its domed, broccoli-like blooms. Pink flowers bloom well into fall and turn a deep copper.

Japanese maple: Different types of this maple have fall leaves that vary in hue, including orange, yellow, red and purple. Its leaves usually have five to seven notched lobes, which are arranged like an open hand.

Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary

3300 W. Rollins Road

It’s not too late for one more picnic at the Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary. This park hosts native prairie grasses that go through beautiful changes in fall, says MU Food Science instructor Katherine Hagely.

Four fall standouts

Goldenrod: “A lot of people mistake it for ragweed,” Hagely says. But goldenrod simply is misunderstood. This native flower has bright golden-yellow blooms, while ragweed, a common allergen, has small greenish-yellow flowers.

Indiangrass: This grass adds to Bonnie View’s golden autumn aesthetic. Indiangrass is hard to miss as it reaches up to 7 feet tall. Deer are known to wander through it.

Switchgrass: This 6-foot-tall grass stands out in a field with its sturdy clumps of thick, upright blades that become tan in fall following its bright green in summer.

Big bluestem: This mighty grass grows up to 7 feet tall. Watch for seed heads that look like bird feet with two to three “toes.” It’ll take on a golden color in early fall but turn a reddish-copper after a frost.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

comments powered by Disqus