Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday's Trees- Persimmons

Persimmons, Diospyros virginiana, with that tart, puckery fruit is a native tree.  We used to have some in our backyard in Virginia. During this hurricane season I am reminded of these trees.  As we watched the winds and rain, we were worried about trees coming down.  I made a comment something along the lines that 'if we were going to lose any trees, I hope it is those' pointing to the Persimmons...as they fell.   Ha! They were pretty close to the edge of the yard, hanging over the bulkhead, and then they were in the creek.

Fast forward to our new place in South Carolina.  Up by the street I found a young tree with these interesting flowers in the spring.   These waxy little bell shaped blooms are about a half of an inch, creamy white, and hang in either clusters of three (males) or singles (female).   This is a dioecious (two households) tree, each tree being either male flowering or female flowering.  One very rare occasions there are perfect flowers, meaning  both stamens (male) and pistils (female) are present.

From the looks of it, I have a male tree in my yard.  

Though I was confused by this picture below, singular blossoms.  Look closely at the left-hand side of the photo, see the double stem ends?  This is evidence that there WERE two or more blooms, but they fell off.  

You can see better from this angle, some of the blooms have fallen off.  

The leaves are glossy and arranged alternately along the branches.  The edges are smooth.   The native range covers almost the entire United States, minus the states along the Canadian border.  It can grow in full sun to part shade and prefers moist soil.  A mature tree will be 30 -50 feet tall and have a rounded oval crown spreading 20- 35 feet in width.  
According to Wikipedia, the name Diospyros roughly translated means divine fruit.  The common name persimmon is from the Algonquin language, meaning 'a dry fruit' -- written in English could be spelled putchamin or pessamin or pasiminan.   
It is a member of the ebony family.  The hard wood has been used in golf clubs.  I found it interesting that it has also been used in musical instruments.  The hard wood has been used as drumsticks.  Hard wood is often used as shuttles, billiard cues and hand carved  wooden bowls.  

The bark is one of the distinguishing features, dark and blocked bark.  It is very similar to the bark of a mature dogwood.  

The fruit appears in late summer.  Besides the dark bark, seeing the fruit hanging on these trees makes it an easy identification.  The fruit turns a yellow-orange when ripe.  

 The tree has some pests.   There is a bark and phloem borer that can infest young nursery trees.   There are insects that defoliate, webworms and a hickory horned devil.  There is a persimmon wilt, Cephalosporium diospyri that can kill a tree.  This fungal disease will cause the leaves to wilt, defoliate, and the branches die from the top down.  Diseased trees should be removed and burned.

 The fruit is enjoyed by  many birds and mammals, to include deer, fox, skunks, turkey, and opposum.  The flowers are attractive to bees in the production of honey.  This is additionally a butterfly larval plant for the Luna moth.

Updated photo of the fruit.  Not the best photo, fruit is up high, but you can see the tops of the fruit, a large leafy crown.

ripe fruit -- not large
fall color 

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Today, While Out in the Yard......

I wasn't planning on posting again today but since I had my camera with me, I got some interesting photos while  pulling weeds. My first encounter with nature was up by the hose spigot.    As  I was turning on the spigot I saw a three foot (give or take) Eastern Kingsnake.   These are nonpoisonous snakes, but you know, a snake can surprise you poisonous or not.  

He was interesting to watch, but I am not keen on going behind the bushes to turn the hose on or off.   While we were watching it, it slithered along the house toward the coiled hoses.

Yeah, not going to be recoiling this hose for a while!  

Maybe  I will stamp my feet and make lots of noise before I enter this garden to turn the water off and wind the hose back in place.
Onward and upward, or downward as the case may be.  I am pulling weeds along the water today.  Keeping my eyes open for snakes and other critters.  I was not disappointed, all sorts of things to see today.
I am happy to report this Lobelia is very happy, blooming non-stop since planted!!  My hope is that it will be reseeding in this great spot.

The water had a lot going on today.  I was happy to see a Great White Egret, perched on a submerged log, fishing.

Not sure if it got anything to eat with this move. 

There were a lot of fish in the water today.  I was surprised to see so many fish close to the dock.  Maybe they were near the Egret a minute ago?

They were circling something, I couldn't tell what or why, just this giant whirlpool of fish.  Once they heard me on the dock they came up to see me (yeah right!) and then they scattered.
Pulling weeds, I dump them into the woods.  As I walk through the edge of the yard, I find a couple more wildflowers.  This blue one is Dayflower, Commelina virginica, I think.  Quick ID, if wrong, please correct me!!

And finally, the Groundnut is starting to bloom.  Apios americana, I found this one last year.  The blooms are hanging over the water, so my photo is not as sharp and clear as pictures from last time.
I had forgotten how much lower the water was last year.  There is no walking along the shoreline yet.

Well, after falling on my rear end a couple times while pulling out those tough weeds, I decided it was time to go in.  My arms were really itchy from the grasses....hope I don't have more chigger bites!

Once in the garage, I found another little friend.... hope he found his way out of the garage.

Don't forget, Tuesday's Trees!!

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August? Really? Almost the End of August! What???

We are in the yard every day, checking on progress, on growth, on little friends.   This little guy was hiding on an oak leaf  I was about to remove from my Abelia bush.  Both of us were a little surprised.  

I was torn between removing the dead twig and getting a picture of this little anole who kept trying to hide from me.

Continuing with the walk through the yard I am happy to find more Blue lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica growing in the low untended part of the yard.   This is an area where many of the wildflowers I have shared over the past couple years have been growing.    Leaving it wild will ensure that these wildflowers will continue to appear in my garden.

In the tended area of the garden the Blackberry lilies, Belamcanda chinesis, are starting to show their seedpods.  It is shown here with Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore' from Racquel at Perennial Garden Lover.  She shared this Phlox with me before we moved and it has been a shining star in the garden.  

The Toadlily, Tricyrtis formosana 'Gilt Edge' I bought earlier this summer is happy in its location.  It is starting to bloom, I love these crazy blooms.  I will be looking for other varieties of Toadlily in future years.  Some are more polka dotted than others.

This beauty is growing on the underside of the Fringe Tree, Chionanthus retusus, in my front garden.  Crawling under the tree and behind some of the Lantana made it a little hard to get a great photo of this bloom....but I kept at it!  Looking at the picture below I see dog hair, it is everywhere! hahaa

Hard not to love this bloom.  Can't wait for more blooms to open, it is full of buds right now.

I had one in the back garden the first year we moved here.  It was planted on the north side of an oak tree.  Unfortunately somebody lives there...there is a hole and no Toadlily.  Not sure whose hole it is, but this will not be a place I plant again.   In the meanwhile I will enjoy this one.  

This is the time of year that some trees are blooming.  One that is really making a big show is Goldenrain Tree in Uptown.  In front of the old library there are a number of these trees planted.  The library has moved and this building is now the Veteran's Center.  I love how these trees have last year's seed pods and this year's flowers.  You may remember my posting of this tree, Koelreuteria bipinnata

It is easy to see why the common name is Goldenrain Tree.

The bees were having a good time going from flower to flower.

In the early evening light the pink of the seedpods stand out nicely against the bright yellow blooms. 

And for all you tree fans out there, Tuesday's Trees will be coming back.  I went through many of my photos to gather the tree pictures together.  I have a few that I can move forward with some more posts.  This coming Tuesday, Persimmon.  See you then!

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wildflowers In the Landscape

As I did a quick walk around the yard this week I found a nice variety of wildflowers growing in the woods. I like this bright yellow little bloom, St. Andrew's Cross, Hypericum hypericoides.  This small woody upright shrub grows all through my woods in the front part of our yard.   It is common throughout the country as far west as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and as far north as New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts. 

Isn't this a pretty bloom?

Also still blooming in my woods is the Butterfly Pea, Centrosema virginianum see it in the midst of all the greenery?

Next I have something that I am not certain what it is.  At first I thought I had some Joe-Pye Weed, but the stems are not red as in many of the photos others have shared.   My online research has me baffled.  Any ideas?

The leaf arrangement is opposite, though some branches have alternating leaves.  

The flower buds on Joe-Pye Weed is usually above the plant, sitting high above the leaves, not so with this plant.   Thanks to Lisa for confirming that it looks like it is in the Joe-Pye family, I was pretty close.
A fellow Master Gardener, Vince has been able to make the ID for this one.  It is Pluchea camphorata,  the website Name That Plant has a good bit of information about this plant.

Ok, now that you all have your thinking caps on, here is another plant that is stumping me.  I researched many online wildflower sights and both of my wildflower books to try to identify this cute flower. This pretty lavender/blue bloom is growing down near the water.  It looks to be a compound flower, each section has its own stamen and pistil.  These individual flowers are arranged on one stem.   The leaves  and stems are fuzzy.

The leaf arrangement is whirled in threes.  There is a good distance between the nodes with a wide branching pattern.  Anyone have any ideas of what this one might be?  UPDATE-  Randy has again given me an identification.  Way to go Randy.  It is Elephantopus tomentosus, common names include- Hairy Elephantfoot or Elephant's Foot, Devil's Grandmother, and Tobaccoweed.  It is a native plant.

Near the mystery bloom above was a plant I know, surprised I have it growing along the shoreline.  I bought one at the local Native Plant Sale a couple autumns ago.  I have Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis growing in a couple different places!  Wish I had seen it while it was blooming.   This is a butterfly favorite, there is a great specimen in the Learning Garden in Virginia where I used to live.  

I used to enjoy the activity of the pollinators on this shrub when I volunteered in the Learning Garden and wanted to add one to my new garden.  How nice to have the one I purchased AND these great finds growing near the lake.  

Each season I find new wonderful plants in my yard, some I know, some are mysteries.  If you know what my two unknown plants might be, please share!!!  Thanks for stopping by.
Be sure to visit Gail over at Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday!

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oh My Achin' Back

All rocks are in place!!  With the assistance of my dear husband, we now have placed both pallets of river stone into the gardens.   We were able to get the first pallet done rather quickly on Sunday, a day that was not hot.  Sunday was a beautiful day, low humidity and in the mid 80's.

Our backs were not stressed too much as we bought a cart that hooks on the lawn tractor to haul the rocks downhill.  I have two wagons and a wheelbarrow, all of which are a pain to push/pull back uphill.  Even though they are empty on the way up they get heavy, heavier with each trip.  This cart made our task manageable.  Charlie got a lot of the rocks into the cart, especially the large ones.  We off loaded them into the general area of the garden and I shifted them around to where I wanted them.

Today we took the second pallet to their new homes.  The second pallet had some much larger rocks.  We had a few extra that were place in less critical areas.    This is the area where I had much of the washout in May and June.  Mulch still needs to added....not this week though. Not next week or the week after....will wait for fall.
 These two pictures were taken from the deck, a bird's eye view.  It gives a nice overview of the whole garden.  Love the white Phlox in the center of the picture!!

This is a two stage plan for curtailing washout...rocks and mulch then more plants that will hold the soil.  I have some that I can divide and some seeds that I will sow this winter.  I also hope to find some end of year goodies in September.
You can see some of the tire marks in the grass... this low spot stays wet a lot longer than any other part of the yard.

 Same section, looking uphill instead of down from the deck.

And of course I had company in the garden as I was walking around--- another little Fence lizard.  To give you perspective these are blades of grass.

And finally, a shot from lower in the yard.  
This is an area of the garden that needs to be replanted.  Soil from the top of the hill covered baby plants at the bottom of the hill.

Will let you know if my back is sore tomorrow, but right now....feeling pretty good.  Glad this part of the project is done.  I like how it looks.

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.