Monday, October 30, 2017

Late Walkabout

When it comes to hardy, these Emperor of China chrysanthemums can't be beat.  They don't even get started until it gets cooler in October.  When it gets cold the leaves change to dark red, but the flowers  continue to bloom.  So far the latest flower we have had has been in December! 

At this time of year our focus is on cleaning up another mess in preparation for the next gardening season.  We have found no time for a simple walk in the garden.  Daylight outlasted the chore tasks so we had time for a look around.  This is likely a Cardinal Flower from seed.  There is but a single plant here so new growth near a dying flowering stem is unlikely.  There is also no sign of the remains of a stem.  In the company of violets and clover this might have been seen as just another weed.  Its location in the south west corner inside of the stone square is marked here so that it can be found in the spring.  It is much larger than the plants growing at the base of flowering stems and we would like to try potting it up.

These are newly discovered buds on the Pinxter bush.  We knew that the buds formed in the fall and as luck would have it we found them today.  Last year the deer ate here so timely preventative action was taken today.  Wire cages were placed so that the Pinxters were surrounded by either wire or stone wall.  During this time we found an additional bush growing very near the larger plant.  We have known about this small plant for several years but have resisted trying to move it.  This coming spring perhaps we will try our luck at moving this plant for the third time.

As fall color photos go, this one is somewhat unusual.  The setting sun is lighting up these Goldenrod seed heads in an attractive manner.  Traditional fall colors meet the sky on the edge of the gravel bank hill.  Goldenrod presents a conflict to us.  It is a highly invasive weed that takes and holds ground at the expense of whatever plant grew there in the past.  For that reason it needs to be exterminated.  It is the last plant to flower in our meadows providing nearly the only food source for late appearing Monarch butterflies.  For that reason we must have this plant.  It takes a pry bar and a block of wood to lever out the root mass and some plants are removed in that manner.  Others are left in place to feed the next season's crop of butterflies.

Repeated frosts have caused the trumpet vine to drop its leaves.  Today it was bald enough to reveal the wren nest that we knew must be there.  When the vine was covered with its red trumpets this summer, wren vs. hummingbird activity was wonderful fun to watch.  It seemed like the birds enjoyed their competition.  I fully expect all of them to return next year!

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