Thursday, March 15, 2018

Winter Walk-Off 2018

Welcome to the Winter Walk-Off post for 2018. Every year I participate in my friend Les' blogging meme of the Winter Walk-Off. The rules are still very basic- leave your yard/garden and share what you see along the stroll, no pictures of your garden (though I have been known to include one or two!) Take pictures of things that you find interesting and say goodbye to winter!



On with the walk. We, Charlie and I, walk every day. Our neighborhood is a gated community with acre sized lots, about a quarter of the lots have homes. We walk in the middle of the road and barely ever have a car go by.  The photo above it about a half of a mile from our house.  While they aren't up yet, in the field to the right, along the tree line, is a stand of ferns. I think they are Bracken ferns, Pteridium aquilinum, but haven't ventured into chigger territory to find out. I do look at them longingly from the edge of the road.


In the photos above and below are some of the sweetest little spring ephemerals, Houstonia caerulea, common names are Quaker Ladies, Azure Bluets or just Bluets. They grow along the edge of the road all through our neighborhood. They vary in color from white to dark purple. 


When Les first posted the start of the meme, it was warm here in the Upstate of South Carolina. We were walking in shorts. I started taking pictures 3 weeks ago and just now am finding a second to write about our walk(s). As you can see below, we walk with Liebling, our 1 1/2 year old German Shepherd. She is about 80 lbs. of pure energy. Walking her a lot is critical. 




Our road curves and bends around the contours of the lake, and in a marshy cove area is the tree pictured below. At each season over the years I have tried to figure out what tree it is. To the best of my knowledge it is a Slippery Elm, Ulmus rubra. Flowers and fruits are now evident but difficult to photograph. One day I will get a great photo of this tree and share.


We have lots and lots of Winged Elm, Ulmus alata, growing wild and rather scrubby looking. Winged Elm have corky 'wings' along the branches, hence the name. When they are bare in the winter the branching looks very architectural. The one below is covered with seeds (fruit), many that will populate far and wide. 


Almost swallowed up by the trees around it is a native deciduous holly. Probably Ilex decidua or commonly called Possumhaw. You can barely see the red berries.


Also visible in the winter months are the vines that kill trees- Lonicera japonica- Honeysuckle. See how the vine has cut into the young tree? It won't last too many more years with that strangle hold. 



Those who have been walking with me on these Winter Walk-Offs each year may remember Skyler, our Australian Shepherd. He is still walking with us on the after lunch short walk. He kind of reminds me of Eeyore, just plugging along at 14 years old. Also walking with us is my Mother in law, who lives with us now. She is a spry 96 and walks a 3/4 mile stroll, daily. Use it or lose it!!


The progress of the season has exploded over the last three weeks, below is a native plum (I think) Prunus americana.  Same tree, left and right....amazing how quickly the blooms pop.

Old trees are also interesting when they are sporting a hole or two. We have lots and lots of woodpeckers in the forest and are often serenaded by the Pileated Woodpeckers on our walks. Their calls sound like monkeys in the jungle....it is wild out here!



This tree below will possibly be gone within the next year as this lot was recently purchased and the new folks are planning on building. Sorry to lose some of the forest for new homes.



I hope you have enjoyed the signs of spring in the Upstate. Don't forget to check out other blog posts on the Winter Walk-Off - all links can be found at A Tidewater Gardener


©Copyright 2018 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

18 comments:

  1. What a terrific way to welcome Spring! A Winter Walk Off should take place in everu community! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for commenting Teri, yes, love the winter walk-offs. See you soon!!

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  2. Hello Janet, I am glad you were able to walk with me this year. God bless Skyler. I know at that age walking might be tough, but they wouldn't miss any opportunity to go. And bless your mother-in-law, I hope I am still that active at 96. I purchased an American plum to put in one of the edible gardens at work. I understand they are not so good fresh, but can be made into other things. So far it appears to be much tougher than most other Prunus. I hope you have a great spring in the Upcountry!

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    1. Thanks Les, wouldn't have missed it. Yes, walking with Skyler and MIL is a slow one, but more power to both of them. I am keeping an eye on the American Plums, I don't remember fruit in previous years.

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  3. Enjoyed the walk. Wish we had more time to visit at the symposium, but good to see you are doing well.

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    1. It was good to see you too Marian, though know you were busy! Thanks for stopping by for the walk.

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  4. How wonderful that your MIL is still walking regularly--she's my hero! Your neighborhood looks like a calm, peaceful setting! It's too bad about the non-native Honeysuckle. We have the same problem in Wisconsin. It was cool for our first day here in Charleston, but today was perfect. I like the early spring climate here in the south!

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    1. Beth, she is pretty remarkable. Our neighborhood is very calm, relaxing... and most everyone knows everyone. Glad you have been having a good time in Charleston.

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  5. I was just wondering today if I had missed the opportunity to do a winter walkoff this year. Talk about a timely post to see! I love seeing some of the wild parts of your neighborhood and am jealous of the pileated woodpeckers you see. I know they live around here, but I have yet to see one.

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    1. Cynthia, we have so many woodpeckers, of all shapes and sizes. Lots of fun for bird watching.

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  6. You have such a great neighborhood to walk in. Your surroundings are very similar to mine. Oh, that honeysuckle is wicked! It is sad to see lots get developed especially when you've walked by them so many times and you know all the trees and plants that grow there will soon be bulldozed away. Love that your seniors are out walking with you. My 80 yo old mom puts me to shame, working in the garden, she is the energizer bunny!

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    1. Karin, I have a hard time believing Hedda is 80! She is in such great shape. I need to come and see your garden sometime, you all have done so much to rid the woods of honeysuckle and privet.

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  7. You have such a beautiful place to walk, especially without worrying about traffic--thanks for sharing! Good to see Skyler still enjoying his walks, and your mother-in-law is amazing! I'm looking forward to warmer weather like yours one of these days.

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    1. Thanks Rose, we do enjoy our walks. Thanks for coming along with us!

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  8. I missed the walk-off this year, being way too busy wth the master gardener web site. I hope to do more blogging this year again. I enjoyed you tree photos - woodpecker holes, honeysuckle, and all.
    Ray

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  9. Yours is like a woodland walk-off!

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