Sunday, March 22, 2015

New Growth

Chaenomeles and Forsythia
These paired shrubs have come into full bloom now. They are growing on a bank on the inside of a tight curve on a frontage road, causing me to swerve (mildly). Behind them is a large pink flowered tree, possibly some cultivar of Prunus. It is a grande scene! I have not had time to observe these plants, but I would like to know if anyone has seen insects or birds visiting the flowers of Chaenomeles or Forsythia?

Forsythia's are one of the most eye-catching flowering shrubs this time of year, the vibrant yellow bursts everywhere that was once a dull brown or green of winter. People seem to love them or hate them, the latter because of the "unruly growth". You may have noticed that I am not very big on the formal garden, and I prefer the natural look. Overzealous growth can be good in some situations, particularly where one has the room and needs a windbreak or a privacy hedge. I have seen Forsythia's reach heights of fifteen feet or more, integrated with neighboring shrubs or short trees. Once again, I would like to know if anyone has seen bees (what kind) or other pollinators visiting the flowers.

Pulmonaria saccharata 'Mrs. Moon'
Last year I bought a gallon pot of this cultivar, then quickly divided it and planted it into several locations. The new starts are fairly small, but all have dug in nicely and are flowering! The family traits are apparent with this cultivar, particularly the five-lobed calyx (a trait of the Boraginaceae).

Hepatica acutiloba
Hepatica acutiloba is a North American native found in woodland habitats in the eastern half of the United States into Canada to the northern tip of Quebec. The leaves have three distinct lobes with accuminate tips. The flowers can be white to deep blue, with intermediate pink forms. It appreciates alkaline soil, or the occasional application of lime to acid soils. Last year it produced a single leaf that is persisting to this day! I hope to expand my collection (currently of one) to include a few more species and varieties.

Fragaria vesca
These woodland strawberries grow like weeds here, and are welcome to do so. They are industrious plants, enduring drought and being walked upon. Later in the Spring, tiny red berries are produced and have the sweetest most delicate flavor of any strawberry you have ever tasted, but are only produced sparingly. One would need to walk acres to fill a basket, or even a cup, with berries.

Erythronium hendersonii
My favorite wildflower (I say that a lot) is in full bloom now, popping up here and there. There is some nice variation among individuals, some lacking the white surrounding the center, others having narrow tepals. The one below caught my eye, as it reminded me of this.

Erythronium hendersonii

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