Saturday, May 25, 2019
I guess I thought I might have to title this post "The Morning After" like the title of some doomsday movie. Transplanting native wildflowers is tricky and often ill advised. The plants were in a spot where they were being crowded out by other plants or would be squished by truck tires. Permission of the landowner was granted since both Ed and I agreed that the move should be made. We must have been a sight while we were soaking large soil clumps in water and carefully searching for the delicate roots of the plants. It was raining slightly. Working without gloves with mud up to our elbows, we soaked the clumps in water. As soon as a few were worked free, Ed planted them immediately. We finished the Starflower first. Ed watered them well. That was yesterday. This is how the Starflower looks this morning.
Behold a Starflower plant standing tall. It's two delicate white flowers looking terrific complete with yellow pollen and a visiting pollinator. Whew! Do we feel better!
This Polygala was worked free of the woodland soil tangle with an impressively long piece of root. If a break occurred, it happened when the soil block was pulled from the ground. Polygala develops an underground flower that produces seed. The taller stem has unusual growth at the soil line that may well become cleistogamous flowers.
Our own mix of woodland soil was added to the existing ground after the leaf mulch was pushed aside. Carefully the roots were placed horizontally in this soft soil. Gentle compaction helped some of the plants return to an upright position while others needed the addition of leaf mulch.
We were somewhat surprised at the number of plants that were somewhat hidden if the forest soil. All but one were intact enough to plant. We were hopeful that some of these treasures may live in their new home.
We were shocked to find these flowers looking like they did yesterday before they were yanked from the ground. This picture was taken before this mornings watering washed the litter from the leaves. The condition of this transplant has me looking forward to winter so that we can see if these plants appear next spring.
Friday, May 24, 2019
Our day started this morning with a trip to the back meadow intending to clear a fallen section of a White Pine tree that was blocking part of the mowed meadow. With that task completed, a short walk to check on our now officially wild Cardinal Flower seemed in order. We have a survivor with no help from people. An additional walk into the forest seemed like the only thing to do. Glacier ground ridge rock in all sizes litters this forest floor. Beauty is everywhere. Plants here must be left alone since the stony soil prevents their removal.
This wild Jack In The Pulpit is close to the first Trillium that we have ever seen in this section of our woods. A stately Red Trillium was a welcome surprise. Invasive Garlic Mustard is far less welcome and we feel compelled to remove it whenever it is encountered.
Purple-pink winged flowers are what we wanted to see. Little is written about Fringed Polygala and its culture is difficult. These dainty plants are in the company of rather nasty neighbors and their long term survival here is in doubt. The large oval leaves and the white cluster of flower buds mark the presence of Wild lily-of-the-valley. It is a horribly invasive native and will choke out nearby plants. Escaped pasture grass is also in the picture and it is unclear which will ultimately reign in this area. What is apparent is that the polygala is being strangled here.
A long pry bar aided the removal of clumps of this ground. This was no easy task as roots from nearby bushes helped to hold the soil in place. Each soil block was placed in a container of water. Swishing around that mass aided in the gentle removal of all parts of the weeds. Intact civilized plants was our goal. We accept the possible outcome that nothing will survive the move but we cannot risk placing these invaders into our shade garden.
These Starflowers could survive their move since complete root masses remained with the rest of the transplant. Delicate accurately describes every part of these plants. Our hope is that enough of the plants remains functional enabling a return next year. Their pointed white flowers are quite attractive and a sizable patch would be a welcome addition to our collection of native plants.
The outcome with the polygala is far less certain. We had a past experience where several plants with horizontal roots were connected to a single deep taproot. Despite our caution today, only plants with the horizontal root were removed. The web of forest soil is so tight that deep clumps are impossible to remove. We did our best and these plants have been added to the list of transplants that will receive water nearly every rainless day. Any survivors here will be treasured while those left behind in the woods should persist for the time that we will remain here.