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Fall colors in the garden

Well, fall must be officially here; the kids are back in school the leaves are starting to change and the nights are quite cool.  Since the dog days of August barely made a showing, these cool nights have actually put the plants into an early fall cycle.  The Maples, Black Gum and Sourwood have already begun to change to those wonderful shades of red which the Blue Ridge is known for.

If you have yet to visit our neck of the woods, grab a camera and come on down. We all talk about the leaves changing but do you really understand why? 

Well let me enlighten you.  Leaves are nature's food factories. Plants take water from the ground through their roots. They take a gas called carbon dioxide from the air. Plants use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into glucose. Glucose is a kind of sugar. Plants use glucose as food for energy and as a building block for growing. The way plants turn water and carbon dioxide into sugar is called photosynthesis. That means "putting together with light." A chemical called chlorophyll helps make photosynthesis happen. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color. 
As summer ends and autumn comes, the days get shorter and shorter. This is how the trees "know" to begin getting ready for winter.
During winter, there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis. The trees will rest, and live off the food they stored during the summer. They begin to shut down their food-making factories. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves. As the bright green fades away, we begin to see yellow and orange colors. Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along. We just can't see them in the summer, because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll.

The bright reds and purples we see in leaves are made mostly in the fall. In some trees, like Maples, glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Sunlight and the cool nights of autumn cause the leaves turn this glucose into a red color. The brown color of trees like oaks is made from wastes left in the leaves.

It is the combination of all these things that make the beautiful colors we enjoy in the fall. Sorry I have my teacher hat on. This is from science made simple wesite be sure to check it out. www.sciencemadesimple.com I hope when you look at your trees you will enjoy the colors you remember how nature creates this show every year. 

Garlic Thyme on Oct 3rd 
Join us on Saturday Oct 3rd, at 10 for a garden tour, lunch and a full afternoon of classes on Growing, Planting, Harvesting and of course lots of tasting of garlic. We will have a mini garlic braiding class too. All activites are FREE except for lunch which will be $9.50 a piece. Registration is required for lunch. If you want to spend the day and don't want lunch by all means bring a picnic lunch and spend the day with us. 

 Garlic will be able for sale, for planting and eating, and of course braids will be available on the 3rd. Those of you who have bought the braids in the past can attest to the fact that they will keep until next April or May, so they work great for Christmas gifts too.  

Change comes to the farm  
While we were closed for August we worked in the gardens, cut back a few things and did a bit of traveling. We cut back the Purple Cone  Flowers and will soon cut back the Black eyed Susans which have thrived with these cool temps. We have been asked how we planted such a beautiful display- well I didn't. The birds did it. The Black Eyed Susans are annuals which reseed every year. They will take over but are easy to remove if they show up where you don't want them.  

Now for our changes: we are putting up a Butterfly Enclosure. that's where our travels took us. The week after next we are hoping to have a 24x48' screen house erected which we will plant and turn into a walk through garden.  Ideally, I would like to place a house over one of our gardens but that will not happen, so I will start planting this fall and next spring you will be able to walk amongst the butterflies. Many of you have mentioned walking through the gardens and watching the butterflies.

Be sure to check the web for particulars about Garlic Thyme and the remaining classes in Sept.

As we wind down for the season Gregg and I want to thank you  for your continued support and the outpouring of concern through a rough year.We will be open weekends until Oct 10 and after that we will be open only by appointment.Thanks,Ellen and Gregg