Nature Notes: Stalwart Flowers, Foliage

azalea_fall
Is this azalea confused? Doesn’t it know it’s fall, not spring?

nasturtium_fall
Just in time for cold autumn weather, we have one vibrant nasturtium flower. Our groundhogs ate our nasturtium in July, so we did not have the pleasure of nasturtium in salad this past summer. But we caught two ground hogs mid-summer and set in them loose in Johnson Park; we also installed two molar pest repellers, which seem to have discouraged more nasturtium-eaters from our garden. So by late August the flowers grew back, but not in time for a bountiful summer crop.

sedum_fall
Happy are the sedum in my garden!

Here is information from Michelle, our Nature Notes host, about fall foliage:

The major factor influencing autumn leaf color change is the lack of water. Not a lack of water to the entire tree, but a purposeful weaning of water from each leaf. Lack of water to each leaf causes a very important chemical reaction to stop.

Photosynthesis, or the food-producing combination of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide, is eliminated. Chlorophyll must be renewed (by photosynthesis) or be taken in by the tree along with photosynthetic sugar. Thus chlorophyll disappears from the leaves.

The variation in foliage — the shades of red, purple, bronze, yellow and orange — is all about pigment and what type each tree carries.

Carotene (the pigment found in carrots and corn) causes maples, birches, and poplars to turn yellow.

The brilliant reds and oranges in this fall landscape are due to anthocyanins.

Tannins give the oak a distinctively brown color.

The best colors show up when we have cool nights, bright sunny days and low humidity.

burning_bush_fall
My neighbor’s burning bush: I get such a kick out of the name of this plant.

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10 thoughts on “Nature Notes: Stalwart Flowers, Foliage

  • Better late than never, eh? Our pumpkins just squeaked in under the wire this year.

    I’d be interested to know if the molar repeler worked against groundhogs?

  • You do have a bit more color than we do here near Buffalo. I hope the ground hogs don’t find their way back. I wonder why I don’t have that particular problem although I am hearing a raccoon on my deck at night angry that I bring the bird feeders in at night. Thank you for participating in Nature Notes Leora.. I know how busy you are… Michelle

    • I enjoy your visits, so in my crazy week last week, it was wonderful to take a break, take some photos and participate in Nature Notes. Couldn’t find any birds, except for a few sparrows that flew away as soon as I pointed my camera in their direction.

  • You do have such lovely colors in the fall – one of the things that I truly miss about living in the north. I especially love the little stragglers – the last of the flowers popping up as a nice surprise!

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