Monday, March 26, 2012

Come Walk With Me

Wallace Wood and Patrick McMillan

This past Saturday my friend Ann and I were lucky enough to participate in a nature hike through Steven's Creek Heritage Preserve.    What a wonderful place!  It is over four hundred acres of unspoiled beauty.  The guide was Patrick McMillan, host to ETV's show "Expeditions".  What a great guide for this adventure.  Wallace Wood set up the tour.  He is associated with the Upper Savannah Land Trust.  What a great piece of land.

The tour was advertised as 1.5 mile long, Ha!! Thank goodness we were in the early hike.  We saw so many interesting plants and heard birds high in the trees.  Patrick can ID many birds by ear, nice to have that wealth of knowledge.  He used the iPod app for bird calls to learn many of them.
The hike started off in the upper pine forest.  Pine forests have more acidic soils and most of the understory plants are generally evergreen.  The more deciduous the forest, the more deciduous the understory plants.   One of the first shrubs he talked about was Ilex cuthbertii a deciduous holly related to I. decidua.  This plant is only found in South Carolina and Georgia.  This small preserve is host to so many special plants.   The pine forest area was once cotton fields, now most all the topsoil has washed away.

Malus angustifolia

Most of the pictures are in order of the hike.  The flowering crab-apple is fragrant, pretty white blooms.

We traveled along the path, heading into the lower forest along the Savannah River.  As we walked we saw differences in the terrain and the vegetation.   More Ostrya virginiana, Quercus alba, Cornus florida, and other deciduous trees were more plentiful.    Dogwood, Cornus florida, are some of the most shallow rooted trees.  The one in the picture below looks dead.  We had a bad drought last summer and it looks as though the leaves came out on the dogwood and crinkled up and died, without falling off.  It is not dead though...look closely at the new growth.  
There is hope that this one and its fellow dogwood neighbors will live and continue to grow ...provided we have enough rainfall this year.
Lots of Wild Ginger, Asarum was coming up through the leaf litter.  This one has a common name of 'Little Brown Jugs'.  The evergreen leaves hold on to many of the plant's nutrients, especially Calcium.  As you move further into the deciduous forest, the soils are less acidic and have far more nutrients are present, calcium and magnesium to name a couple.

I wish there was a list of all the various plants we were able to see, being in the middle to back of the pack, I wasn't able to catch all the names.  Seems like I kept falling further back as I stopped to take some photos.  Will have to return next spring again.  With this warm spring and a little more rain, we were able to see a lot of spring ephemerals in bloom.  This is Hairy Spiderwort, Tradescantia hirsuticaulis, which blooms spring and fall.  The small hairs on the filaments are most interesting.  According to Patrick, this plant is sensitive to radiation in the soil.   This one was found in the first part of the trail.  Remember this as we get down closer to the Savannah River area.
 Native Geranium were scattered in the open areas.
 So pretty ---
 When we first encountered this little beauty I thought it was Blue-Eyed Grass from a distance.  As I got closer I saw the beautiful coloration on its petals.  While I have seen this on many other blogs, I was not prepared to know it for its small size.  This is Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica.

Nestled along with the Claytonia and Geranium, was this False Rue Anemone, Enemion biternatum

 Many Trillium were in bloom, again, being in the back of the pack, I am not sure of the species.   What interesting blooms!

There is one plant that is not found anywhere but here and Lake Miccosukee, Florida.  It is the Miccosukee Gooseberry, Ribes echinellum.  Two places on this earth!! Amazing.   The leaves are lobed, hairy and the stems are quite thorny (as are most Gooseberry)
 It appears that each node there are three thorns, pointing in three different directions.
 The berries form after the flowers are spent, hanging under the foliage.
They are described as little ballerinas twirling.

Down along the pathway, where the moisture is more abundant, are some Solomon's Seal.  Polygonatum biflorum  The flowers aren't quite open yet.

 Native shrubs, like the Spicebush, Lindera benzoin, pictured below were in the open area.  There was a grove of Pawpaw, Asimina triloba.  Interesting facts about the Pawpaw-- they need another plant to reproduce.  Most Pawpaw form groves, clones of the parent plant.  They will not produce fruit if there isn't a different parent plant.
 Ferns were coming up.  I love the curled heads as they emerge and unfurl.  There were Christmas ferns and Beech ferns along our path.
 Little foam flowers, Tiarella cordifolia were blooming. I love natives.

As we walk along the edges of the Preserve where we are closer to the Savannah River we come across some more Spiderwort--- remember those hairy fibers along the filament?  No longer purple, but a pinkish color.  Very interesting!!

Great blooms, whatever color they might be!

Last but not least, as we joined crossed a small creek and headed back, retracing our steps, was a cluster of  Shooting Star, Dodectheon meadia.  
Pollination of this upside down bloom is quite the challenge!  

Additionally, this ties in well with Gail's Wildflower Wednesday at Clay and Limestone.  Head over and see more natives!

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

Update on The Family and A Few Others

Many of you know I have a family garden.  I searched for plants to have in my garden that have the same name as members of the family.  We are a family of four, Charlie, me (Janet), Rachel and Rebecca.  Soon to join the family is Alex, Rachel's fiance.  

I thought it was time for an update of
the family garden.  A few plants were bare root shipped last fall, so it is exciting to see them popping up.  Both  Paeonia 'Charlie's White' and Paeonia 'Rachel' came last fall and I crossed my fingers that they would be happy in the family garden hill.   My quest for finding 'Charlie's White' was a long one, finally found it in stock at a nursery just outside of Charlottesville, VA.  The closer you live to the place from which you order, the more likely your plant material will do well in your location.

Paeonia 'Rachel' was also purchased online, but the place was in Olympia WA.   'Rachel' is smaller than 'Charlie' right now.  Could be the variety or could be the different area of the country.  'Charlie' is a white bloom, 'Rachel' is red.

From last year, now in fullly leafed out -- Rosa 'Janet'    This afternoon Janet had some aphids on her, but since I took this picture we have had about 3/4 of an inch of rain.  Hoping that knocked off a good number of them.
 Also from last year, Clematis 'Rebecca' know how they say vines sleep the first year, creep the second year, and leap the third year?  This is Rebecca's second year and she is really creeping well!  Last year she bloomed right after Rebecca left to go home after spring break.  Hope it opens for her this year.
Being the plant person that I am,  I couldn't pass up another 'Charlie'.  Found this at Park Seed last fall, really pretty lavender bloom.  Clematis 'Prince Charles' -- how perfect is that?

Additionally, I stumbled on another 'Janet' earlier this month.  OF COURSE I bought it!  It was through our locally grown farmer's market.  My buddy Julie from Garden Delights was the seller.  She is such a sweetie, she shared couple more!  Lathyrus odora 'Janet Scott', Sweet Pea.  I have 'Janet' growing next to Rebecca, so she can use the trellis as well.
So, what about Alex you ask?  Well, after searching long and hard I have found the perfect plant.  Hemerocallis 'Alexander the Great', a daylily!  There is a place up the road that sells it and they will be open soon.  I have the perfect place saved for Alexander the Great...right next to Rachel of course.

I found a Croc in the woods in the lot next to us last fall and ventured in once the colder weather came.  I also have an old pair of Crocs that I broke.  All three of these have been in the garage over the winter, waiting for me to do something with them.

Today I decided to harvest a few of the various sedum and other succulents I have in the garden.  We have an old tree stump along the edge of the garden in the backyard...perfect spot for the lone Croc.

I will have to get some other succulents for the pair of Crocs and figure out where to place them.  One step at a time!
Another 'person' in the garden I wanted to share is Admiral Semmes, one of my native azaleas.  Rhododendron 'Admiral Semmes' is blooming now and seems to be very happy with his planting location.  Bold color and fragrance as well, can't beat it!

Fragrance in the front yard with Admiral Semmes.  Fragrance in the backyard with Fothergilla 'Mt. Airy'.  If you don't have Fothergilla in your garden, you are missing out.  This honey scented bloom is outstanding in the spring and the fall color is out of this world.

As I was working in the backyard before the rain, I couldn't figure out what fragrance I was smelling, the Edgeworthia are about done, so it wasn't them.  This bloom is really a sweet one to have.  Buy it, buy it now!!
So, once Alexander the Great is added to the garden I will do another update.  Are YOU planning a family garden?

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hello? I heard it was Spring....

We have been having fireflies/ lightening bugs in the woods along the side of our property for the last week or so.  Last night I saw one on the front door while letting the dogs in and out and in and out and in and out.  Maybe a revolving door would be better?  Oh don't get me started.  Wish the lightening bug had illuminated his light for the photo.

In the container by the front door I left all the plant material in it over the winter.  There is a clump of Liriope muscari, some ivy, and an Osteospermum or African Daisy.  The Osteospermum stayed green all winter along with the ivy and Liriope!  I checked on it the other day, finding a bunch of buds, ready to open!!

Isn't this great?

This morning, the first day of spring...this is what  I found!!  This was one of a number of open blooms.

A quick look around the yard showed more blooms opening.   The red dogwoods are starting to open.
 My new Rhododendron x. 'Admiral Semmes' is within days of opening.  Seems as though this is in a happy spot.
 Many of the second round of daffodils are blooming now.  I really wanted to share this one, a very white white.  Narcissus 'Thalia' , nodding double or triple blooms per stem.   See the little spider inside the middle bloom?

 Out in the backyard is the Flowering Almond I spoke of last posting.  Thanks again Lola!  I love this little pink fluffy blooms.

Also in the backyard is the native honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens 'Major Wheeler'.  It is not a polka dotted bloom, that is pollen!!

A quick view of the front shows the grass is getting greener, the trees are budding, and flowers are starting to bloom.

Out back the garden still needs to be cleaned up a bit -- the leaf litter helped keep the plants protected over the cool (can't really say cold winter) winter.    There is a lot of new growth in this garden.  Think come June there will be lots of color.

How was your first day of spring?  Did you find lots of new growth or buds ready to pop or a spring visitor like a lightening bug?
Happy Spring Everyone!!!

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fantastic Foliage Follow Up

First time for me to participate in the foliage postings that are hosted by Pam at Digging.  I love foliage variation in the garden.
The walkway to the front door is lined with Acorus gramineus 'Ogon', Sweet Flag Grass.   It is in bloom right now.

Many of the shrubs around the house are Gardenia 'Frost Proof'.  The deer leave them alone and I love the blooms.  Hoping it blooms a lot more this year.

 Many of the plants along the lower side of our property have color and foliage interest.    We have no neighbors now, but I imagine there will be someone in the future.  It is my intent to have as many mature evergreen shrubs and trees along the property line as I can.    One of the newest additions is Callitropsis glabra 'Blue Ice'.  Great blue foliage and red stems, gorgeous!   At maturity should be about 25 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

 Nicely complementing the Blue Ice is Loropetalum 'Ever Red'.  I shared the flowers in the last post, check out this burgundy foliage!  Such a win win plant. It should be about 6 x 6 feet. So far the deer have left it alone, hope that continues.

Another blue foliage tree flanks the other side of the Loropetalum.  This one is Cupressus Arizonica var. glabra 'Carolina Sapphire'.  A small tree now, but will be a light feathery blue pyramid.  It will grow 30- 40 feet tall and about 6- 10 feet wide.  Both blue trees are about 4 feet tall right now and kind of thinly branched, but give them a few years.

Another colorful plant is the Chameacyparis pisifera 'Vintage Gold'. Similar to Gold Mop cypress but this one is supposed to stay about 3-5 feet tall.  The foliage is more finely cut than Gold Mop.  Since this is along the open side, if it grows taller, it is fine, there is plenty of room.

Another yellow hued shrub is Thuja plicata 'Goldy'. It is supposed to get 15- 20 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide.  When all these plants are young, the line of them looks a little sparse.  I am giving them all the room they need to be a full glorious specimen.  Goldy has had a bit of burn (winter? or dogs?) but am hoping it will take off this year.

Looking from 'Goldy' back along the line you see lots of color.  Most of the color is foliage.  Gotta love it!

Our property line is at the edge of the 'wild' on the right.  The more these trees and shrubs grow, the better defined our side yard will be.

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