Friday, August 16, 2019

Super Sweet Summer Scent

Here is one of the great treats of summer in our garden.  Amy and I discovered this native plant while hiking in the Gunks.  Our first plant for the garden was a small plant taken from a friend's garden.  Summer Sweet multiplies freely with each clump consisting of many single shoots with no large trunk to be found.  Its scent is wonderful beyond description and carries for considerable distance on the wind.

Any attempt to approach this plant when its flowers are open guarantees other life forms on the plant.  These two White Admiral butterflies were so intent on feeding that my close approach did not cause them to fly away.  This picture would have been better if I had taken a moment to snap off the brown remains of last year's flowers.  I was quite certain that motion would have sent the butterflies away.

This bee is carrying a heavy load of yellow pollen.  Its color puzzles me since the open flowers show brown where the pollen forms.  Here again a really close approach was not even considered despite the fact that a pollen carrying bee is incapable of assuming a stinging posture.

One of my goals for this year was to have the native plants Cardinal Flower and Summer Sweet growing close together.  Bright red blossoms close by nearly pure white flowers could present a perfectly beautiful scene.  For some unknown reason the entire center section of the Summer Sweet had no flowers this year.  For some time it looked like there might not be leaves on this section of our original plant.  We still have much to learn.

In our shade garden down by the road, both Summer Sweet and Cardinal Flower were planted together.  As mentioned Summer Sweet grows with single stalks.  The transplants are all alive and in flower but their scraggly appearance will be diminished with another year's growth.  Several Cardinal Flower transplants were set around the outside of the bushes.  If all goes as planned, a stunning photo should be possible next year.

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