Who, What, How, Why?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Why do leaves change colour?

Let's face it leaves are the food factory of the tree! So why then do they change colour in Autumn I hear you ask.


Virgina Creeper by Ming chai


Moisture that contains valuable nutrients and minerals is sucked out of the soil by the roots and passed up through the tree into the leave. They mix with air and are converted into sugars and starches (tree food) that are absorbed by the tree to make it grow the energy needed for this process comes from the sun. Sunlight is trapped in a leaf by a green pigment called chlorophyll. It’s chlorophyll that gives leaves their green colour in spring and summer then the days grow short and night time temperatures fall, the tree realises that autumn and winter are coming. Most trees do not grow in autumn and winter, so there is no need for food and the ‘food factory’ closes down the chlorophyll left in the leaf is not needed and starts to decompose. That means the other pigments from the sugars and starches start to show - and they’re the golds and reds that we know as autumn colours.

Autumn Leaves by basswulf

Some of My Favourite Autumnals:

  • Sedum spectabile 'Brilliant' 
  • Perovskia 'Blue Spire' 
  • Erigeron karvinskianus 
  • Aster × frikartii 'Mönch'
  • Amelanchier lamarckii 
  • Euonymus alatus

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

What's On: Organic Gardening at Luisne (Spring 2015)

Want to learn how to grow a thriving vegetable and herb garden? Facilitated by myself, Ena Ronayne, this course kicks off on Saturday 7th March 2015 at 10AM (alas the September class didn't run as there wasn't enough participants)
Classes will be held on Saturday mornings from 10am to 1pm. Term begins on the 7th of March 2015 for 4 weeks Click here to register 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Let the Academic Year Begin!

Another batch of students will attend Killester College of Further Education from tomorrow. No doubt each student attending will have lots of questions about college life and their chosen subject.

Juggling with new modules, timetables and a lot of paper these past few weeks, I had almost forgotten about the novice horticulturist who will sit in my classroom for the first time this week. Between now and May 2015, nine modules will be covered by my full time group, while my part time students (who start Wednesday and will attend one day a week) will cover three modules. That's the hope anyway!


All full time classes kick off tomorrow Monday 15th September at 9.00 am and up first for the horticultural student is Work Practice, followed by a double class of Communications. Then, after an early lunch, students will have a three hour block with me in Plant Propagation.

Students are going to love this module and I can't wait to hear all their questions and there will be many, not least.... What is plant propagation? Therefore in advance of class here is a text book answer which we will pick through in class tomorrow.



"Plant propagation is the process of creating new plants from a variety of sources: seeds, cuttings, bulbs and other plant parts"

This 'definition' will be tweaked, discussed and understood in far greater detail by the end of the year.


No doubt there are many who are anxious about tomorrow and shouldn't be.  To those who are, we wish you and all who will attend KCFE and any other college the very best of luck.


Let the academic year begin for 2014 /2015!