An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

May 1, 2016

Barred Owls and Buttercups

     Yesterday I took my first paddle of the year. While I had opportunities to go earlier in the year, it was way too cool. When warmer temperatures did arrive I was under doctor's orders not to lift anything over 20 lbs until the end of April. Yesterday was not ideal with strong northeasterly winds, overcast skies, and with the threat of rain, but I would not be deterred. I headed inland and west to the Blackwater River, and put in at Joyner's Bridge near Walters. This river is lined with one of my favorite trees, bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), freshly leafed out in an impossible shade of green. Paddling among these giants connects me with something much older and much larger than myself. This genus has witnessed 100 million springs, when the first seedlings somehow manged to avoid trampling from creatures like Tyrannosaurus Rex, while Pterosaurs flew overhead. While I saw neither creature yesterday, their descendants were numerous. Ospreys, great blue herons, cardinals, crows, wrens, sparrows, yellow warblers, wood ducks, wild turkeys, and pileated woodpeckers were all present, but the greatest thrill was being able to approach a barred owl while smaller birds were trying to peck its head.
Taxodium distichum (5)

Taxodium distichum (6)

Taxodium distichum (1)

Taxodium distichum (7)

Taxodium distichum (2)

Bald Cypress with Yellow Warbler

Barred Owl

     Of course the cypress were not the only plants I noticed. Resurrection fern (Pleopeltis polypodioides) was full and fresh from recent rains.
Pleopeltis polypodioides (2)

     Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Chionanthus virginicus (2)

     American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens)
Wisteria frutescens

     Blue Marsh Violet (Viola cucullata)
Viola cucullata

Viola cucullata (2)

     As green as the river was, many of the nearby fields were equally as yellow, cloaked in a blanket of buttercups (Ranunculus species), and I couldn't help stopping for a quick trespass. This European invasive is toxic to cattle and horses, but it is also distasteful, and when there is enough good forage livestock avoid it.
Buttercups (Ranunculus) (7)

Buttercups (Ranunculus) (6)

Buttercups (Ranunculus) (2)

Buttercups (Ranunculus) (3)

Buttercups (Ranunculus) (4)

April 15, 2016

Bloom Day - Bright Spring Sun

     I am feeling rich right now, at least when I am in my garden. Ample rains, cool air, and bright sunshine have conspired to create lots of flowers and lush foliage. Weather is always up in the air, so to speak, that you can never be sure how long a pattern will last, so I am enjoying this one while I can.

     (Hovering over the photos should give you the plant names. Some browsers don't support the Flickr titles when you hover, so I have added the plant names.)

     Cross Vine (Bignonia capreolata)
Bignonia capreolata

Front Porch

     Frisia Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia')
Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia' (2)

Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia' (1)

          Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
Front Garden (3)

     Front Garden
Front Garden (2)

     Unknown, or more acurately unrecorded pansies (Viola x wittrockiana)
Viola (Pansy) (1)

Viola (Pansy) (2)

          Golden Ornamental Raspberry (Rubus cockburianus 'Aurea')
Rubus cockburianus 'Aurea'

     Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
Hyacinthoides hispanica (3)

      Tradescantia x 'Blue and Gold'
Tradescantia x 'Blue and Gold' (2)
 
     Ajuga reptans 'Chocolate Chip'
Ajuga reptans 'Chocolate Chip'

     Corydalis heterocarpa var. japonica
Corydalis heterocarpa var. japonica

     Robin's Plantain (Erigeron pulchellus)
Erigeron pulchellus

     Royal Purple Smokebush (Continus coggygria 'Royal Purple)
Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'

     Weigela coraeensis
Weigela coraeensis

     Stachyurus praecox ''Mitsuzaki'
Stachyurus praecox ''Mitsuzaki'

     Hardy Impatiens (Impatiens omeiana)
Impatiens omeiana
 
     Spanish Bluebells - pink form (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
Hyacinthoides hispanica (4)

     George Tabor Azalea (Rhododendron x 'George Tabor')
Rhododendron x 'George L. Taber' (2)

     Mrs. G. G. Gerbing Azalea (Rhododendron x 'Mrs. G. G. Gerbing')
Rhododendron x 'Mrs. G. G. Gerbing' (2)

     Nuccio's Gem Camellia (Camellia japonica 'Nuccio's Gem')
Camellia japonica 'Nuccio's Gem' (2)

     To see what is growing for other gardeners, please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of each month - rain or shine.