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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Darn Whiteflies!

For whatever reason, whiteflies seem to LOVE my hibiscus plants. I have aggressive removed them with blasts of water and tried the sticky yellow cards you see advertised in gardening catalogs, but nothing seems to help. I don't really like to use pesticides in the garden, but I am afraid that the whiteflies are really starting to hurt these plants.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fall Colors - for the geeks

I noticed yesterday that the liquidambar trees are already starting to change color. I posted last week about the hows and whys of the Fall color change, but here is a link for the science geeks among you. Want to learn about proteins that trigger the Fall show, look no further.

By the way, the photo accompanying the previous post are liquidambar trees that I photographed several years ago near a friends apartment.

Why Leaves Change Color Autumn starts officially tomorrow and we'll soon be able to look at all the marvelous colors of autumn leaves, at least if we live in a place where autumn means something. And I'm sure you know why tree leaves change color in the fall. It's because chlorophyll is disappearing from the leaves. While it's true, there is a responsible for the fading of the green pigment bound to a protein called LHCII. RedNova News reports that European researchers from Sweden and Poland say that a "single protein triggers the glories of the season." This protein, or more exactly, the protease FtsH6, is at the origin of the degradation of LHCII, revealing the other red, yellow or gold pigments which give to autumn leaves their wonderful colors. Read more

(Via Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Early rain for 2005

Last night a band of thunderstorms moved in from the South and started lighting up the sky around midnight here in the San Fernando Valley. I had expected this to be a fast moving storm without much rainfall, but instead it has settled into a day-long gentle rain with periods of showers.

This is very early in the season for us to get such significant rainfall. My journal shows that the first rainfall in 2003 was on Halloween night. This has come more than a month earlier.

Of course, this is not our usual Winter storms, which come out of the Northwest, so it is possible that we might not see rain again until next month or beyond. Only time will tell if I need to keep irrigating or can let nature take its course for another season.