Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Forest Floor

This carefully focused photo could have been taken in the wild.  Mottled brown leaves mark the location of trout lilies.  Canada anemone displays solid green pointed leaves.  Bright pink flowers are on fringed polygala.  All of this natural wonder is artificially located in our raised shade garden.

Several years ago the poylgala was found in bloom around the edge of a sizable flat rock located in our unspoiled woods.  Carefully lifting the rock revealed the entire root structure of my favorite wild flower.  An impressively large clump of woods soil was moved intact to the shade garden.  Three native plants have now appeared in the moved soil.  How they came to survive under the stone remains a mystery. I can find no reason why any farm activity would have moved that stone.  It was far removed from any of the fields.  Perhaps forest dwellers hid seeds under the covering stone.

Both the color and the structure of this flower have made it my favorite native plant.

It did grow in several different locations in our woods but this year I found barely a  trace of it there.  Grass from the adjacent field now grows where the polygala formerly survived.  All to often, one reads of the disappearance of this treasure.  Our source of arbutus had two huge patches of polygala growing under young oak trees.  The next Spring no trace of the polygala could be found.  Apparently, they smothered under the thick layer of fallen oak leaves.  Moving native plants is unacceptable to many responsible naturalists and I hesitate while doing just that.  Since the moved plant has survived, I find some redemption as my interference has allowed life to continue.

These Jack in the pulpits grow just West of the polygala.  Purchased from a responsible plants-man, I had no direct involvement if they were harvested from the wild.  These plants grew in the woods near my childhood home and I still remember encounters with them.  Late frost has killed these to the ground in the past.  Now they are on the list to cover when frost threatens.  With help these specimens have increased in number during their time here.  Again we take comfort in the fact that the wild plants are increasing under our care.

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