Sunday, August 11, 2019

Edge Of The Woods

Our latest attempt to find a natural home for Cardinal Flower is pictured here.  Some weeds were cleared before the transplants were set one year ago.  Bags of fallen leaves taken from the front area of nearby village homes are in use to both smother weeds and rot down forming a more natural woodland soil.  We have come to understand that Cardinal Flower prefers both moist soil and shade.  Garden placement usually results in only one year's growth while we are looking for a place where this plant will return year after year with no more help from us.  Some of these plants wintered over here while many  more were set out this spring to empty the pots.  Except for the new plants, adding leaves was all that we did for these plants this year.

Our gravel bank hill rises to the south behind these flowers. The height of the hill and its trees keeps this area in shade most of early spring days.  Snow lingers longer here than any other location on our land offering protection when it is needed most.  The road to the gravel bank crosses in front of these plants trapping water runoff keeping this ground moist much of the time early in the year.  Moist and well drained ground results from the deep gravel deposit under this ground with water frequently running down hill to this spot.  We did not see any new plants from seed here but some time is needed for the rotting leaves to form more suitable soil.  We remain more than willing to wait since it appears that this location will help Cardinal Flower survive independently here.

Stepping away from our natural ground at the edge of the forest, twelve sizable pots each containing one overwintered plant were placed in a garden bed.  We expected to find up to six daughter plants in each pot come spring.  It would be a simple task to pull these pots next spring if protection from hard frosts became necessary.  Our plans were working well until the deer herd visited.  Two plants had their tops nipped off very early on.  Recently at least one of the deer walked across this area knocking over several soon to flower stems.  This pictured plant is sending up three or four daughter plants inside of the pot rim.  They appeared here much earlier than normal in response to the flattened stem.  That stem is sending up new stalks that look like they will flower.  If soil was placed along side of the now horizontal stem, roots would begin to grow.  We want the daughter plants already in pots for next year and are in no way prepared to deal with the excessive number of plants that with help would appear here.

This picture shows the entire planting.  Some plants remain as they were planted.  Some are sending up new vertical stems in response to earlier trimming by inexperienced fawns.  Others were recently knocked over and we will watch to see just how they will grow.  It will be interesting to see just what grows here next spring.

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