Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 22, 2011

This was an exciting day. Returning from some errands I found Jan Hunter and her team planting the last of our Phase I Native Plant plan. They removed the aggressive carpet bugle (ajuga)we had growing around some stone steps in the backyard. The replacement is Wild Ginger. We left several coral bells and hostas I couldn't let go of, but moved a few Columbine to the new front bed in the front yard.

However, the real highlight was having Jan walk through the wooded area with me.  We identified and tagged many of the woodland plants she installed last month.  Those included many Brown Eyed Susans, some Flat Topped Asters, Woodland Phlox, Doll's Eyes, Canada Anemone, and Wood Mint.  During our walk, we continually pulled invasives such as Honeysuckle, and Wild Garlic.  They are certainly much fewer than some years ago when my wife and I started removing these.  Perhaps the reduction of those undesirable plants has allowed the Natives we found to take hold.  Jan was thrilled to show me Doll's Eyes, Jacob's Ladder, Waterleaf, Wild Rye, Wingstem, and Bloodroot; all native plants growing naturally.   There was even a large flowering Dogwood.  I wonder how many of these I've trampled in prior years.  By the end of our trip, the poor lady was probably tired of my unending questions.  What's this plant?  How about that one?  Which ones are native but not very desirable?  What's this one?  Oh a goldenrod.  "Just keep it from spreading too much." she responded. 

And of course, I almost forgot to show her the Trillium I found growing in the front.  Funny when she looked at me with a wry smile and said it wasn't a trillium.  Just a hosta, probably one just like the one next to it. 

She looked at all last month's plantings and told me to water the Columbines located in the front "island" bed.  Transplanted natives do require some nurturing while they are getting established.  These plants probably should have had some water to get them through this blistering heat.  Hope it's not too late.

UGH!  After the Columbine watering, I found one of the budding Butterflyweed plants broken off right at ground level.  The footprint in the mulch matched my shoe perfectly.  Darn it.  I took the broken stalk, peeled off some lower leaves and put it in a jar of water.  Will it send out some roots?  Probably not, but I hope so.  Maybe I'll try some rooting hormone. [Jan Hunter:  I doubt if the Butterflyweed will sprout roots! The tuber will be fine, will produce another stem or two this year, may bloom late, but will definitely come back next year.]

A small part of the side yard, near the woods, I've let grow up, not knowing what were desirable Native Plants and which weren't.  I'll call this the wild part of our native landscape plan.  Jan identified most of it as White Snakeroot, a very common native plant.  So I'll begin pulling that to see what else might come up instead.  However,  for the last five days or so, an Eastern Pewee frequently perches on a nearby bird feeder pole.   Apparently this wild area is producing a lot of tasty flying insects.  It is thoroughly enjoyable to see the aerobatics involved in the Pewee's capture of this food.  He can turn upside down on half a dime, grab the insect, and U turn back to the perch.

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