Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Arbutus, July 2013

In early May of 2011, four small Arbutus plants were carefully dug from the wild and moved to this location beneath a white pine tree.  Most of the pictures that follow were taken from this same position.  The flat stones edging the planting were later moved to accommodate a protective wire cage that was installed following the attack on these plants by a marauding woodchuck fresh from its winter's sleep.  A patch of moss surrounding arbutus leaves at the right will serve as a landmark.

Those four original plants have exploded into this impressive display.  The bright light green leaves are all new this year.  Low afternoon sunlight casts a light edge on some of these leaves but only the camera sees it.  To the human eye all of these leaves are green to the edge.  Our heavy regular rain for the entire preceding month may have encouraged more new growth than is customary.

One has to look closely to find the dark green leaves that were newly formed just one year ago.  By comparison to this year's new growth, they are relatively few in number but their appearance a year ago truly excited us then.  We cannot begin to imagine what these plants will look like one year from now.

There has not been any discernible change in these remains of female flowers over the past month.  Three or four black beads are visible in the picture but we are expecting the seeds to form on raspberry like structures.  Perhaps now is the time to commit to renewed daily inspections as these things may happen rapidly.  Last year we missed the seeds completely.

Nearly every leaf shown is attached to our from seed baby plant.  Only three small dark leaves marked the location of our baby earlier this year.  I find it hard to believe that all of this new growth sprang from such humble beginnings.  This plant is poorly placed relative to the edge of the protective cage but any changes will be made to the cage.  There is absolutely no way that this plant will be moved.

Our tour ends at the single patch of wild arbutus that grows here.  It is growing in the overburden that was pushed off of our gravel deposit more than half a century ago.  This is a poor location at best and this spring very little of this plant could be seen.  Its expected demise was premature as is evident by all of the new growth.  Perhaps the woodchuck found its first meal here, inflicting only  a setback.  Maybe one of these days the gardener will find a few minutes to eliminate some of the plant's competition.

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