Friday, March 23, 2012
May Flowers In March
Since the recent woodchuck attack on the transplanted arbutus, a daily inspection follows the morning trip to the mailbox. Open flowers were found today. Only two clusters of buds remained and we are pleased to have any blossoms. Record breaking warm temperatures have teased the plants to start their season's work way too early. Overnight lows in the 20s are forecast so these blossoms may not get to set seed. Our two bud clusters are on different plants but with only two it would be a long shot to have both genders present. Seeds may have been unlikely without the freeze issue.
This smaller plant was hidden under a cover of pine needles when the woodchuck visited. It sustained no damage. Now that a wire cage protects these plants, the pine needles have been carefully removed in something like a game of pick up sticks. The two partially chewed leaves supplied some caterpillar a meal last fall. This plant looks ready to put on a full year's growth.
This is what remains of what was our best arbutus plant. It was chewed right down to the crown and its future looked grim. Several bud clusters are gone but the plant still has some of its leaves. There are signs of new growth. We daily offer this plant words of encouragement along with a generous drink of water. Recovery now seem possible.
A small mesh wire cage needs to be fashioned to protect the entire planting. The make shift cage leaves one plant exposed. There has been new activity at two of the four woodchuck burrows that I filled with rocks. Every beginning of a new entrance is quickly filled with stone. Baseball sized rounders are placed down the hole. At some point the den will be filled with stone. We hope the animals look for a new home far from the arbutus.