It’s a lovely time of year in Highland Park, New Jersey. Lots of trees, bushes and flowers are in bloom, such as this lavender lilac. Did you grow up smelling lilacs in May? I remember them as a child growing up in Newton, Massachusetts; I would walk down the street and smell this lovely scent.
Azalea bushes are quite popular in Highland Park. This one is in my backyard. Give a few weeks and the blooms will be full and red. Others are pink or white. Azaleas like acidic soil – Highland Park, New Jersey soil cooperates. Tomatoes also do well. I’ve planted marigolds in my front yard – those have germinated. I’ve also seen the nasturtium seeds germinate (I planted those, too; the seeds look like shriveled chickpeas). My chamomile seeds were started in a little box – I’ve got those germinating as well. My hydrangea is still alive – it started to grow green leaves. Will it get munched right down by a deer like what happened last year? Or will I be rewarded with hydrangea blooms?
Their Eyes Were Dry, a documentary directed by Brandon Assanti, tells the story of the 1974 terrorist attack in Ma’alot, Israel where children were taken hostage by three Palestinian terrorists. The film will play at numerous places in the U.S. on May 9, including North Brunswick Regal Cinema.
Happy Mother’s Day. Our azaleas have already faded (this shot is from last week), but the rhododendron is starting to show color, and the roses have tiny buds. We have a bit of a chilly day here… lots of unusual winds yesterday.
Is this azalea confused? Doesn’t it know it’s fall, not spring?
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.
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.
My neighbor’s burning bush: I get such a kick out of the name of this plant.
Upcoming in Highland Park: library book sale and the annual street fair (see my post from last year of the street fair)
Elsewhere in the Blogosphere
Robin of Around the Island is starting a new photo meme called Summer Stock Sunday. First edition will be Sunday, May 31. Get those summer pics ready!
I want to wish my friends recovering from surgery the strength and patience to heal. Ilana-Davita wrote a bit about her experience with recovery in this post. For another friend, who is here in Highland Park, I wish recovery and healing and growth and renewed energy.