Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Let's Get Something Started

Japanese Stewartia dressed for fall
Seems like it's taking much longer for the leaves in and around my Hamptons garden to peak this year.  Autumn has been very wet and cool with little color.  I dream of sunny days when the garden and adjacent woodland burst with orange, yellow and red foliage.

Luckily, my Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia var. japonica) was on schedule.  Always one of the first trees in my garden to put on a colorful show,  some leaves turned a bronzed red and others a deep orange.

I read that orange and yellow pigments are always present in deciduous leaves but camouflaged by the green pigment of chlorophyll during the summer months.  When photosynthesis stops and the green chlorophyll disappears, the other colors are revealed.  Red pigments are made mostly in the fall and are the result of trapped glucose reacting to sunlight and cold temps.  Just thought I'd share.

This Stewartia was planted about five years ago to help enclose the front lawn and partially screen out the parking area.  It produces a beautiful flower in mid-summer that looks like a Camellia blossom (guess that's where it gets the pseudocamellia part of its name).  The blossoms don't last more than a day before dropping to the ground, but it does produce flowers in abundance for weeks.

Hopefully, this is just a prelude to the fall foliage show.  However, when regions nearby get tree-damaging snow in October,  I'm thankful to have leaves of any color on unscathed trees.

Fall foliage
Summer blooms

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