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Archive for October, 2014

Pruning a Dracaena

I am working on iMovies on my Mac.  I would like to see if this YouTube is functioning correctly.  I have filmed a little “lecture”, if you will, about pruning a dracaena.  If you would click on this link and let me know if it comes through on YOUR computer, that would be wonderful.  Also, you might learn something in the process.  🙂

Here’s the link:  Pruning a Dracaena.

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Every year, I am asked how and why the leaves change to such brilliant colors. It’s a fascinating corner of nature.-2

It is the one thing I truly miss in Seattle, having moved from northern New Hampshire where the autumn color is spectacular!  It can take your breath away, and for “Leaf Peepers” (as they are called in New England) it truly does!  I’ll share a few  photos my husband took VERY close to our previous home.

Here is  an excerpt from an article written by Richard Busch, former editor of National Geographic Traveler. It does a fine job of explaining why leaves change color in the fall.

“…Essentially, leaf colors begin to change because chlorophyll–a substance that makes them green–begins to diminish as a result of shorter days and cooler weather. As daylight shortens, the growth system in many trees begins to shut down. Tiny cells at the base of each leaf, known as the abscission layer, begin to dry out, chlorophyll dissipates and the photosynthesis process comes to a halt.-4

The colors that now begin to emerge are actually present in the leaves all year long; they are pigments masked by the chlorophyll during the warmer months. The yellows of such species as birch, aspen and hickory are caused by carotene, the same pigment that gives color to corn, carrots and egg yolks. The autumn reds and maroons in sugar maples, sumac and other species derive from the pigment anthocyanin, formed from sugar compounds stored in the leaves. This chemical’s effect on color depends on the acidity or alkalinity of the tree. Red maples, which are more acidic, turn red; ash trees, being alkaline, become purplish. …”

So there you have it.  You can now tell all your friends that you KNOW why, and how leaves change color.  I guarantee you will use this information, because it is asked EVERY year at around this time!

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This is the plant we often call “airplant”..  That’s because it does not grow in soil, but rather air!

I keep learning new stuff about this plant.  That’s the purpose of this blog!  Learning about indoor plants.  I am not too well versed about this, but I truly AM learning.  I bought these little tillandsias at the North West Flower Show here in Seattle last year.  The Washington State Convention Center, where it is held, is a mere 5 minute walk from Horizon House, where I live.

I feel good in that I have not lost any of the five little plants I bought.  In fact, I have removed them fromIMG_1493 my window sill and put them into the bathroom.

Here on the left are the plants, shortly after I bought them.  I had them on the windowsill where they got nice sunlight.  Neither too strong, nor too scanty.  but, they just seemed lost somehow.  I took them and stuck them under the faucet about once a week and put them back on the windowsill.  But they just looked sad.

SO…  I thought, “These plants live in the jungle, where it’s not sunny all day.  In fact, they probably get filtered and occasional light living from day to day.  Their conditions are hot and damp!”  This is MY interpretation!

And then I thought, “What more perfect place than the bathroom for these little guys?”  In there they will get light whenever we “visit the facilities”, and they’ll get humidity when we shower every day!  So, I moved them.

Granted they are not getting real sunlight, but everything else seems to fit.  SO, I moved them.  And you know what?  I think “Mikey Likes It”!IMG_2870

As you can see, they are not growing quite like gangbusters, but they are looking healthy and happy.  My husband even commented on it.  Not only that, I love having them on the bathroom counter!

If you want to learn some more about tillandsia, just click on that link, and you’ll find out more than you ever needed to know!

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