Tuesday, November 1, 2011
There's a nice discussion of why leaves turn color in autumn here. I was aware that with abscission (signaled by day length changes) the chlorophyll that makes leaves green is blocked, and therefore the other pigments in the leaves are revealed; that's true of xanthophylls, which make yellow, and carotenoids, which make orange. What I didn't know was that anthocyanins, which make red and purple, are not present in the leaves all year; they're only manufactured from the sugars trapped in the leaves at abscission. As if they had eaten too much Halloween candy, I suppose.
Día de los Muertos. This one's a magnolia shrub (one of the "Little Girl" series, and it is either Anne or Jane and I don't remember which; the other one is out back), and one revelation was that it has apparently suckered or layered or whatever it does best, and there are a couple of new plants under there which I might well be able to dig up and transplant somewhere else. Hurray, free plants.
The other magnolia (either Jane or Anne) actually has a cat buried under it, so there you are. Skeletons. The nice thing about plant skeletons is that usually they reacquire the covering of leaves in spring (barring... you know), but it's refreshing to see what's underneath for a while.