Autumn colour

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MikeHardman

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Autumn colour
« on: September 29, 2011, 04:53:52 PM »
We don't get a lot of autumn colour in Cyprus, though the oranges on the trees in winter are an interesting interpretation of the idea. Just a few trees and shrubs make a contribution, eg. planes and tamarisk. ...And parts of Pistacia terebinthus trees, as here on the Akamas.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2011, 07:24:58 AM by Alisdair »
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

David Bracey

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Re: A smidge of autumn colour - turpentine tree
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2011, 09:00:10 PM »
Mike take a look at Nandina domestica, another top 10 for the mediterranean garden.  Super autumn colour with berries which last through the winter, white flowers and interesting "bamboo" like leaves. Punica has strong yellow leaves in the fall. Hedera helix the last plant to flower before the onset of winter.  But you are right, there`s not much. 

Some of the grasses give interest, for example Festuca idahoensis, is blue throughout the winter although I have never had much luck with this grass.  I would leave the flower heads of Stipa, Pennisetum spp------fantastic family and many more grasses.
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 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

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MikeHardman

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Re: A smidge of autumn colour - turpentine tree
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2011, 10:01:48 PM »
Thanks David. Some good points.
I have added Nandina to my wants list. I have admired it in UK gardens, but had not considered it for the Med.
Punica - agreed (that's on my list already).
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

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John

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Re: A smidge of autumn colour - turpentine tree
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2011, 11:54:02 AM »
I feel that there is more "autumn" colour at the end of spring especially from herbaceous plants and geophytes as they go dormant. Here, Picnomon acarna has the typical straw colour of the Mediterranean though in this case caused by death! Second picture. the summer straw dormancy of Carlina graeca is broken when it flowers. Even some of the evergreens can put on a display, the third picture is of Acer sempervirens which was at the stage where it would lose these leaves and come into new growth. This is just a quick selection from our book.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Re: A smidge of autumn colour - turpentine tree
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2011, 06:01:19 PM »
The acer is caught beautifully - so far my attempt to grow this from seed (from Crete) have failed utterly.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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JTh

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Re: A smidge of autumn colour - turpentine tree
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2011, 07:03:55 PM »
I always thought it is strange that there is so little of the typical autumn colours we see in the northern countries but not here in Greece. I once learnt that the anthocyanins, carotene and other pigments will appear when the chlorophyll production stops. I have read that this could because of lack of light in the autum, but it seems to  be more likely to be caused by lower temperatures. I have seen nice colours once here, though, higher up in the Holomonda mountain where it is much cooler at night.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John

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Re: A smidge of autumn colour - turpentine tree
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2011, 09:40:19 PM »
I have germinated the Acer a few times but always from fresh seed not kept dry.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Re: Autumn colour
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2011, 07:26:01 AM »
Time to re-title this interesting thread just "Autumn colour", I think!  :)
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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John

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Re: Autumn colour
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2011, 07:41:30 AM »
Or spring colour!
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Re: Autumn colour
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2011, 07:43:14 AM »
 :-\
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

David Bracey

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Re: Autumn colour
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2011, 01:04:03 PM »
I was intringued to find out why mediterranean plants show less autumn colour than say plants of North America and spent sometime looking for information on the web.  Unfortunately I could find little information.  One of the best articles was written by Professor J O Dowson, University of Illinois in his article "Why leaves tun colour in the autumn" http://web.extension.illinois.edu/forestry/fall_colors.html

The article is devoted to explaining why there is autumn colour, rather than why there is not autumn colour.  Interestingly many of the anthocyanins, flavenoids, tannins  and carotenoids are antioxydents and in fact are protecting the tree from insect and herbivore damage.  They are produced only in living cells which debunks the theory that fall colours are the result of cold weather. The changes in colour are due to starches and sugars being metabolised which are then transported back into the wood, bark and roots for winter storage.  Why this does not happen in med plants is not explained, I guess its just natural selection!
MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

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JTh

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Re: Autumn colour
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2011, 01:43:21 PM »
I have a few more references:

The  chemistry of autumn colors (http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/chemweek/fallcolr/fallcolr.html)

How Fall Colors Work - Chemistry of Autumn Leaf Color (http://chemistry.about.com/library/weekly/aa082602a.htm)

Why Leaves Turn Red in Autumn. The Role of Anthocyanins in Senescing Leaves of Red-Osier Dogwood in Plant Physiol. 2001 October; 127(2): 566–574 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC125091/
« Last Edit: October 03, 2011, 09:01:26 PM by JTh »
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

David Bracey

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Re: Autumn colour
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2011, 08:26:11 PM »
I have looked at the references unfortunately nothing about why mediterranean flora show less autumn colours cf Northern deciduous trees for example.
MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

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JTh

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Re: Autumn colour
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2011, 09:00:14 PM »
If the process has to do with energy conservation, maybe the need is bigger in a colder climate than in a mediterranean one? The leaves of plane treas down here on the coast don't change their colour in the autumn, but the leaves from same trees in the Holomondas, where it is much colder, do.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

ezeiza

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Re: Autumn colour
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2011, 04:41:14 AM »
Lagerstroemia indica
Elymus/Leymus
Festuca ovina 'Glauca'
Some Miscanthus have fantastic late autumn/winter color