Emma Wartzman

Photo by Chris Leschinsky

We’re in the midst of a season change, and it seems like every time I look up, the leaves are a different color. Warm shades are taking over green more and more each day. 

These days we’re talking a lot about fall color. Like here. Here. And here. And with posts focused on color, as one might suspect, the best part is looking at the photographs.

This got me thinking: What did Sunset do when they printed their books in black and white? Into the archives I went, only to find that there are several books that not only mention color in the garden, but are, in fact, devoted to the subject.

The oldest one is from 1958, sporting a cover with every color of the rainbow, but not a spot to be seen beyond that. The (unsurprising) truth is that it’s not quite the same to read about color as it is to see it, but Sunset did far from a bad job of creating visuals.

One example is this enthusiastic description of yellow:

“The warmest, most joyous color in the garden is yellow… from the softest yellow to deep orange. In autumn yellow again plays the dominant theme in the deeper, darker tones of chrysanthemums, goldenrod, rudbeckias, and sunflowers. Yet to come is the soft autumn gold of silver maple, birch, poplar, ginkgo, and willow.”

All you have to do is close your eyes and imagine.

Photo by Chris Leschinsky

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