Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Alive?

Wahoo sprout
Monday morning, Jan Hunter dropped by to check up on the natives she planted for us last spring.  I took advantage of her presence with tons of questions as we toured the yard.  She identified native Black Raspberry and  Elderberry plants as well as some unwanted: Black Nightshade, and Lamb's quarters.  Discovering several invasive Norway Maple trees, she showed me a very neat identification tip.  When you tear a Norway Maple leaf stem from the branch, it will exude a white sap.  Norway Maple is the only maple that does that.  Cool!  So now I can confidently identify the invasive maple seedlings that are sprouting up around the property.  She must have taken pity on me when she saw the now dead Eastern Wahoo sapling acquired at the first plant rescue.  She invited me to revisit the rescue site.  So that night, Jan helped me rescue lots of Wahoo, several large clumps of Joe-Pye weed, some Wild Ginger, Jack in the Pulpit, Bottlebrush Grass, and Virginia Wild Rye.  Imagine my surprise the next day when I went to replace the dead Wahoo.   This tiny sprout rose from the bottom of the sad looking stick in the ground.  Yeah!  Maybe it'll make it after all. 

Monday night, after loading the rescue plants into my truck, we drove around the corner to meet a friend of Jan's.  Linda is an amazing person who beams with enthusiasm.  She had hired a bucket lift and a bee keeper to rescue a swarm of Honeybees.  The bees had set up an ill fated nest 70 feet up in a tree next to her driveway.  This rescue was an amazing event to witness and I learned a lot about bees.  Even this small hive had 10,000 bees in it.  But the real treat was to talk with Linda about her yard.  She is an avid and outspoken advocate of protecting and restoring natural environments.  She has a residential landscape fit for Better Homes and Garden.  And it is almost all native.  She doesn't know what she's gotten herself into when she told me to visit anytime.  I'll certainly take her up on that, reporting back here with pictures.
Brown-Eyed Susan

And as we move into the late stages of summer, I'm finding lots of our native plants starting to show their colors.  Black eyed Susans, and Purple Coneflowers planted years ago are in full bloom.  Last year's planting of Brown-Eyed Susans are putting on a magnificent display in the "wild area" of the side yard.  Monkey flower and Tall Bellflower continue to bloom.  The brilliant orange flowers of the Butterfly Weed are certainly eye catching.  Sneezeweed is a newly identified species I acquired last year but had forgotten about.  Its yellow flowers are a nice companion to the blue Monkey Flower.  The  Blue Lobelia Jan Hunter planted in the spring has burst into bloom.  These flowers brought in a beautiful large butterfly yesterday.  I was thrilled to watch it enjoy the nectar for a while before it moved on.  It feels good to see all these colors developing.  The birds seem more plentiful.  The yard seems to be coming alive.  This conversion to native plants just might be working.


Jean Boltz said...

This is great! So much good info. I have several clumps of joe-pye-weed in my nearby garden. Mine are in full sun. Does it do well in shade?

the Native Plant Neophyte said...

Hi Jean, Glad you like the blog. I’m really learning a lot as I write it. I love Joe-Pye weed. It’s a marvelous plant; beautiful, dramatic blooms, and a great support for butterflies, other pollinators, and birds. They are listed as requiring sun. As you rightly suspected, mine are planted in a partly shaded area. These particular plants were rescued from the edge of a wooded residential lot where they received no more than a half day of sun, if that much. (; So I’m trying them where they probably get about 3 to 4 hours of sun. However, the root masses I planted several weeks ago haven’t sprouted any new shoots yet. I’ve found other sun loving natives in our wooded lot, growing on their own. So I’m hoping.