Saturday, September 7, 2019

Seasonal Change

September is a time of major change in northern gardens.  Weeds are racing to grow large and produce seemingly billions of seeds.  It is still dark outside at wake up time.  Our treasured Cardinal Flower is at the end of its natural time to flower.  Few blossoms remain but this plant is also getting ready for next seasons growth.  Each flower has been replaced by a developing seed cluster.  Soon thousands of these seeds will fall on our meticulously prepared woodland soil.   As is frequently the case with beautiful things, these seeds require special conditions to grow.  Light, warmth and moisture must all appear at a specific time if germination is to be successful.  New plants from seed do appear here but only in limited numbers partly because their time to grow makes them look like weeds.

This is also the time when another pathway to next year's plants is under development.  All of the plant that flowered this year will soon die and disappear.  Around the base of the stem up to six daughter plants are now forming.  They are evergreen and will make a strong appearance as snow finally melts next spring.  In this part of the state late winter temperatures range wildly and death by freezing often ends this new growth.  For now things look great for next season's plants.

Another native treasure is also ending its display of beauty and scent.  Reproduction by root runners is Summer Sweet's primary means of reproduction.  What happens to all of these seeds remains unknown here.  Traces of scent can still be found but the nearness of bees and the limited number of blossoms adds to the experience. So far we share without incident.  Both the bees and the people are mellowed by the fragrance.

We grow Lemongrass  far outside of its natural tropical range.  In spite of that they do well outside in the garden.   These  prize plants will survive inside of the house but do not not enjoy our indoor temperature that never climbs above 68 degrees.  A sunny location in the warmest spot in the house will carry these plants until June.  With overnight lows forecast to be in the low forties, the time to bring these plants inside of the house is now.

Our resident deer walked across these Cardinal Flower plants flattening their stems.  At every leaf stem joint new growth appeared.  The time required for the plants to recover from the damage is responsible for this late stunning display.  Marauding deer do not usually make a positive impact on our plants but this late display is outstanding. Becky saw a female hummingbird on the Rose of Sharon this morning.  I'm sure she appreciates these brilliant red flowers too!

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