Saturday, August 8, 2020

Long Time Coming

Daughter Amy and I discovered both of these native plants while hiking in the Shawangunk Mountains.  The red flowered Cardinal Flower was growing in full sun next to a year round stream.  Summer Sweet was found in full shade under widely spaced Oak trees.  Both plants present unique issues concerning their willingness or ability to grow in the same spot year after year.  Both of these plants were transplanted here this year.  Our hope is that they will grow on this spot without much interference from us.  We plan to enlarge the area free of Goldenrod when outside temperature moderates allowing us to remain outside for more than a few minutes.  If it is not kept at bay neither plant will survive.

This photo does not do justice to either plant.  Cardinal Flower is well known for its presentation of incredibly bright deep red flowers.  This afternoon full sun caused problems for our old point and shoot camera..  We will try again when the sun is lower in the sky.  We know that, but we were here at the wrong time today and thrilled to see new flowers..

Amy and I walked into a deliciously sweet invisible cloud of plant fragrance on our long ago hike.  Woodland flowers are scarce in August and we reluctantly left the trail to find this plant.  All that we took away from our encounter was mental images of dark glossy green leaves and pure white flowers.  Once home identification of the plant was quickly found.  Now it grows in several locations here since we view it as a native treasure.

As we developed an understanding of the needs of each of these plants, I wanted them growing in close proximity to each other.  Brilliant clear red blossoms near pure white flowers would be an image of lasting beauty.  Hopefully both plants will return next year.  Their low area between the lane and the wooded hillside traps water runoff.  This generous supply of moisture should help the Summer Sweet survive half day exposure to sunlight.  The Cardinal Flower will also benefit from a moist location.  Early spring cold presents survival problems for Cardinal Flower but if we can remove the Goldenrod its survival is possible here.

Growing squash and pumpkins next to a wire fence is not a smart placement.  Frequent visits are made to keep the vines headed toward open ground.  The vines passed under the sunflowers with no apparent problem.  Both plants look fine.

Since we drove to the back, I did not bother with my usual sun protection clothing or even a hat.  It would be helpful if more of the vines had headed toward this open ground.  I explain this to them on every trip back to keep the vines out of the fence but like some unruly eighth graders from my past it may take time for the advise to register.  Expecting to be ignored, I plan more trips to pull the plants out of the fence.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

After The Rain

Many of our plants have struggled to stay alive during this hot drought.  Despite the distance from running water, we have hauled water down the hill to the shade garden.  Our efforts preserved life but nothing brings plants alive like an all day gentle rainfall.  These   Rattlesnake Plantains have increased in number from last year's single purchased plant but have remained tiny.  Their response to the natural moisture was an obvious increase in the size of the leaves.  No flowers were seen last year.  Perhaps this year will be different.  This orchid does not naturally occur south of Canada in the eastern part of North America.  Its unique leaves are a visual treat and are reason enough to keep give this plant a growing area.

Fragrant Lady's-tresses grow naturally two climate zones warmer than here.  Out of place, it remained hidden in the soil for our harsh early frosts and freezes.  We were both surprised and pleased when three stalks finally appeared.  Last year the flowering spires wrapped themselves around each other creating a visual treat.  The USPS Wild Orchid stamps feature this plant.  None of the selected plants were identified by name but this one appears in the top row adjacent to the header.

Jacob's Ladder is commonly seen in established older gardens.  The lack of moisture had this specimen looking dreadful.  It is amazing how quickly recovery followed a generous rainfall.

These Cardinal Flower plants were bent over and withered prior to our water rescue.  Their short term recovery was made more permanent by the daylong rain.  The general lack of adequate moisture has limited growth to about one half of a normal year's presentation but the red blossoms are as vivid as ever..

Maidenhair Spleenwort is in its first year here.  As a new transplant, these have received more regular visits from the watering can.  Their natural growth habit places them in cracks and crevices of stone outcroppings.  We built a version of a stone ledge that seems to suit the plants just fine.  They are without question a tiny treasure.

This purchased fern was not an informed choice.  Its small size and rugged looking leaves made it a natural in front of our transplanted stump.  Yes, we do plant both stones and stumps.  How could a native woodland garden be complete without them?