Friday, May 27, 2022

Initial Disappointment

We have slowly come to realize that many native perennial plants need time to adjust to a new home.  In the recent past new Giant white trilliums have been unreliable to accepting their new home.  Some show no above ground growth in their first year with us.  Small flowerless plants sometimes appear in their second year.  Our harsh early spring weather really hammered many of our plants.  Yesterday we were cleaning up some weeds and finally took a close look at our collection.  Huge plants are absent but there are new plants growing close by older plants.  It is not hard to see the possibility of an impressive group of pure white blossoms on display here next year.

Cardinal flower apparently has always been mostly absent in this part of NYS.  More that one century ago, Roxbury native John Burroughs described his difficulty in finding at least a single flowering plant.  Our weather is the problem.  These plants overwintered as new growth.  Their emergence from the snow cover saw beautiful light green tender rosettes.  Given time to adjust to typical early spring cold snaps, these plants would survive.  Here we get winds from the south raising temperatures into the 60's followed by hard frost.  Our habit is to cover these plants with Chrysanthemum stems following snow melt.  Still the bitter cold blackened these leaves.  We were certain that these plants were dead.  Clearly they are alive and we will soon see their brilliant red flowers.  A nearby group did not experience that success.  More than half of them are now gone but seed is on the ground.  Plants from seed will not flower this year.

Bloodroot has been smacking us around for years.  The cage protected area where transplants have been placed for several springs did not produce a mature plant.  Extremely small leaves did appear this year but hard frost ended them.  These pictured plants first appeared here last year.  They are self seeded  and were tiny.  Perhaps four plants are growing here and we very carefully remove weeds.  At our age we are no longer buying plants.  What grows here is largely on their own.

 Fragrant ladies tresses
grew here for several years.  It is a southern plant and we felt lucky each year that it produced flowers.  It did send up several shoots this year but a severe frost ended them.  We will leave this ground alone after we remove the garlic mustard because it might be possible for us to see desired growth next year. 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Second Flower

In many ways these purple tinged Trilliums look completely different from their initial form showing pure white flowers.  These transplants have held this ground for many years now producing blossoms sized much like the native plants across the river.  Maidenhair ferns in the immediate background have also been here for a number of years.  Somehow these plants cover and hold their ground.  It is the result of luck not skill.  The general area is also home to a large number of violets which pull the deer in for a tasty snack.  The wire cage is intended to keep the deer foot prints away from this ground.  Not native but it works.

Decades ago daughter Amy and I were hiking at the Buttermilk Falls park near Ithaca.  A sharply sloped shale ridge was home to a huge group of Columbine plants.  How these plants were able to send out roots into tiny cracks in the stone wall remains a mystery.  This single from seed plant growing from our drystone wall serves as a reminder of the day we happened on generously flowered cliff face.  The Ground ivy is viewed as an invasive pest but it does have blue flowers.

Bluets have a long history here of resisting our efforts to grow them.  This small group is inside of a small mesh wire cage but they are self planted on the horizontal surface of the stone wall.  These plants were originally taken from a sloped lawn that was moist from a septic dry well.  Subjected to mowing and dampness they thrived.  We have been largely unsuccessful in our many attempts to grow this plant.  These will stay caged where they are while we look for new from seed plants in the immediate area.

Prairie smoke is a Great Plains native that has held this spot near the house for a few years.  These after the flowers airy presentation is just super.  We do not know if the cage is necessary but why risk removing it?

It has taken several years for this Perennial bachelors button to hold its ground  The initial transplant appeared to have died but a low cluster of leaves could be seen during the second year.  It took awhile for the plant to reach a size that allowed blossoms.  Some care is needed to remove nearby weeds.

It seems that we hold a fascination for ditch weeds.  Dame's rocket seems to be everywhere alongside of any road.  It resists transplantation since it has a hefty tap root.  A true biannual, it shows a large coarse robust circle of  close to the ground leaves in its first year.  The explosion of growth in its second year features a variety of colored flowers.  We keep it in our garden by allowing plants from seed to grow in the stone paths between planting beds.  How could anyone not see these blossoms as desirable?

Pinxter bushes are more than welcome here.  When we still had a sense of smell, the calming effect of these flower's scent was a real mood booster.  Their growth habit of open flowers ahead of leaves  is unusual but the number of blossoms is amazing.

The fox has not been seen here for quite some time.  Its right front paw has sustained an injury.  Every step features a limp but when it is time to move on super speed is still possible.  When this animal was first sighted a slow walk straight toward the window was attempted since past movements inside of the house have sent the fox running.  It was in the freshly mowed lawn when first seen but my movement sent it away.  Several days after this picture was taken we came upon a dead fox in the road.  We were about four miles from here when we encountered it and hope that it was not the one that hunts here.