Tuesday, November 10, 2020

A Promise For Spring

Trailing Arbutus has been at the top of our "It's Special" list for many years.  Becky still remembers a childhood experience with the scent of its flowers.  Everyone has written that Trailing Arbutus is impossible to transplant but in this picture you can see the current status of four plants that we moved here years ago.  Evergreen plants face increased risks at snow melt as there are few green plants for wild animals to eat them.  The dry stone short wall surrounding these plants is part of our system to keep the rabbits and woodchucks on the outside.  To date it has been completely effective.

We have found that the ground under White Pine trees supports impressive Arbutus growth.  In this location several young Oak trees grew close by.  With the passage of many years, these Oaks are now quite sizeable as is the depth of their fallen leaves.  These Arbutus leaves were hidden from view by the fallen leaves before we cleared the area.  We believe that Arbutus leaves need light even in the dead of winter so the blanket of Oak leaves was carefully removed by hand.


It came as a surprise to us that many plants form their flower buds during the Fall season.  Here again protection is needed to keep the animals away.  This photograph reveals the location of at least six bud clusters.  Spring will find two supposedly rational adults well into their seventh decade on hands and knees so that their noses can be brought close to these unbelievably sweet scented flowers.  Getting down to the ground is handled with some ease but returning to a standing position is increasingly more difficult each year.  So far it has been unnecessary to bring lunch to a stranded sniffer.

This rather huge bud cluster clearly deserves a photograph.  Its location is well within the range of our noses.  Finding a clear spot to place a supporting hand is becoming increasingly difficult but to date no one has fallen forward into the jumble of plants.

With the protective wire cage in place, these plants are safe from foragers.  The wall stones prevent a persistent snout from simply pushing the cage aside.  When we built the cage we knew that someday the treasured plants would reach the edge of protection.  Our plans remain to try to root cuttings taken from the edge of protection.  There is nothing to lose since those newly exposed plant parts are sure to be nibbled away.  This is the time of year when I steel my resolve to survive yet another winter so that I can once again drink in the unforgettably sweet scent of Trailing Arbutus flowers.

1 comment:

Beth at PlantPostings said...

That's very exciting! Good luck; they are special plants!