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.

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