When I see headlines like this one in the newspaper,
I first think, “Oh, good, the newspaper is finally covering more gardening topics.”
But than I read the article and realize that once again, it isn’t about gardening, it’s about a factory.
Of course, reporting on factories and what’s going on with them is important news these days, but so is news related to gardening!
Plants are like factories, which I guess is why they call factories, plants. They both have inputs and outputs and processes in between. In the case of plants, the growing green kind, the inputs are of course water, light and carbon dioxide and the outputs are oxygen and sugars, or something like that, and the process is photosynthesis.
It has been a very long time since I studied photosynthesis in any detail. Now every time I get out my old textbooks, I wonder how I ever knew that stuff. Then I see little hand written notes in the margins and some stuff underlined and it makes me think those are the sections I should study in case there is a quiz. But then I breathe deep the oxygen output of the plants around me and remember that I already took that class last century and passed it, so I don’t have any more tests about photosynthesis to study for.
One wonders if it makes us better gardeners to know about photosynthesis. Perhaps not, but I think it makes us more appreciative gardeners to know that these complex processes are occurring all of the time in the plants around us.
Another complex process going on in the plants around us now is of course the changing of leaf color from greens to countless shades of orange, red, yellow, rust and brown and everything in between. Somewhere I learned that the other colors were always there in the leaves, hiding behind the green color of cholorphyll. Then the shortening days of fall causes the plants to start to go dormant before winter and produce less chlorophyll, and so the other colors get their chance in the big show.
And a big show it is.
These two shrubs, Viburnum carlesii on the right and Fothergill gardenii next to it, are both trying to perform at the same time, in quite different, nearly clashing colors. It’s like one wants to play jazz and the other is trying to drown it out with rock ‘n’ roll.
That’s fall, a lot of clashing, bright, garish leaves playing their own tunes, giving us one last show. I wouldn’t miss it for anything!