Thursday, August 22, 2019

Goldenrod and Asters

The goldenrod, the goldenrod
That glows in sun or rain,
Waving its plumes on every bank
From the mountain slope to the main, —
Not dandelions, nor cowslips fine,
Nor buttercups, gems of summer,
Nor leagues of daisies yellow and white,
Can rival this latest comer!

On the plains and the upland pastures
Such regal splendor falls
When forth, from myriad branches green,
Its gold the south wind calls, —
That the tale seems true the Red man's god
Lavished its bloom to say,
" Though days grow brief and suns grow cold,
My love is the same for aye."

And, darker than April violets
Or pallid as wind-flowers grow,
Under its shadow from hill to meadow
Great beds of asters blow; —
O plots of purple o'erhung with gold
That need nor walls nor wardens,
Not fairer shone, to the Median Queen,
Her Babylonian gardens!

On Scotia's moors the gorse is gay,
And England's lanes and fallows
Are decked with broom whose winsome grace
The hovering linnet hallows;
But the robin sings from his maple bough,
" Ah, linnet, lightly won,
Your bloom to my blaze of wayside gold
Is the wan moon to the sun!"

And were I to be a bride at morn,
Ere the chimes rang out I 'd say,
" Not roses red, but goldenrod
Strew in my path to-day!
And let it brighten the dusky aisle,
And flame on the altar-stair,
Till the glory and light of the fields shall flood
The solemn dimness there;"

And should I sleep in my shroud at eve,
Not lilies pale and cold,
But the purple asters of the wood
Within my hand I 'd hold; —
For goldenrod is the flower of love
That time and change defies;
And asters gleam through the autumn air
With the hues of Paradise!
                                 ~Edna Dean Proctor

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Pretty Leaves

The Morning Glories have been growing super fast, so I thought it was time for another update! 😊 Many Ipomoea nil varieties have lovely variegated leaves. Some are only slight, but there are some that are so beautiful they would be worth growing even if they didn't have amazing flowers too! 

These are 'Kokoah', which should have a very dark purple flower, but one of these had a different colored hypocotyl which sometimes determines the flower color. I'm eagerly waiting to see if it blooms in a different color too!

'Asuka Ray Mix' has maple-shaped leaves, and one plant is also variegated. 

So far 'Sazanami' takes the prize among my plants for the most beautiful leaves!

I also can't get over the leaves on 'Purple Reverse Tube'! There's just nothing like them!

I. pubescens is ready to start climbing and I need to provide some kind of support soon.

The caudex...

I. transvaalensis just got moved to a bigger pot and is starting to climb too.

Well, if you all remember my comfrey tea experiment from a few weeks ago, I now have proof that it does indeed contain lots of nitrogen! I watered my morning glories with it a couple of times and not only have they been growing like crazy (perhaps too much...if overfed they will only produce lots of foliage and no flowers), but I also accidentally splashed a few of the leaves, which started to burn. Thankfully the plants are still fine, just minus a few leaves! 

A new life begins...I recently bought several more rare varieties from a seller on eBay. I will have to save most of them until next spring as there just aren't enough bright windows in the house, but I had to try a few now!

Cotyledons of 'Blue Silk' ('Akatsuki Tsuyu' in Japanese)...

The cotyledons of 'Midnight Illusion' are really something else! Interestingly, the backs of the cotyledons on one of the seedlings is an almost neon purple, while the other is pale green/yellow. Both show purple hypocotyls, which will also be the color of the future flowers. 

The same things happened with my two 'Hamafubuki' seedlings, only in pink! 😁 These should have stunning, pink and white blizzard blooms.

Having all these beauties to look forward really helps to lessen my dread of the coming winter. Hopefully when the snows come I will be able to say with Tennyson:

"Bite, frost, bite! 
You roll up away from the light 
The blue wood-louse, and the plump dormouse, 
And the bees are still'd, and the flies are kill'd, 
And you bite far into the heart of the house, 
But not into mine."

Friday, August 9, 2019

Wood Notes: Late June- Early August

In unploughed Maine, he sought the lumberer's gang,
Where from a hundred lakes young rivers sprang;
He trod the unplanted forest-floor, whereon
The all-seeing sun for ages hath not shone,
Where feeds the mouse, and walks the surly bear,
And up the tall mast runs the woodpecker.
He saw, beneath dim aisles, in odorous beds,
The slight Linnæa hang its twin-born heads,
And blessed the monument of the man of flowers,
Which breathes his sweet fame through the Northern bowers.
                                         ~Emerson's Wood Notes

It's been a long time since I've shared from my walks in the woods, so now I'm going to begin where I left off, up to my most recent expedition this afternoon! 😊 My favorite wildflower, the Twinflower (Linnaea borealis) was in bloom from the end of June through the first week or so of July. I know I've already shared lots of pictures, but here are a few more taken later which I just had to post! This patch was growing on a fallen log in the middle of some very thick vegetation. I probably would never have found it if I hadn't seen the evergreen plants last Fall after everything else had died back! 

Mountain woodsorrel (Oxalis montana) is another favorite. The leaves are said to close in bad weather and at night, but I have yet to be out there at the right time to watch them fold up. It will have to be in bad weather I guess since I would be afraid to be in the woods close to dark. I've seen fresh signs of bears more than once this summer.

Small Enchanter's Nightshade (Circaea alpina)...not a very showy plant but I am fascinated by its name.

Gooseberries (Ribes sp.)...

This delightful little flower (Moneses uniflora) has several interesting names, such as Wood Nymph, Single Delight, and St. Olaf's Candlestick. It seems to me that it ought to have some legends or poetry associated with it, but I haven't been able to find any yet.

Dwarf Red Blackberry (Rubus pubescens) is very common in our woods and delicious too! It ripens about the middle of July.

Probably Hooded Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata)...

Beautiful Pyrolas are very common in these woods, but seemingly impossible to photograph!

Northern Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)...

Well, I have no idea what this is!

Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine) is a very common orchid which is actually from Europe. It is usually regarded as a weed and it does pop up just about anywhere, but I think it is very pretty and needn't be despised just because it's so common!

Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra) almost startled me today when I saw the large bright red berries!

Bluebead Lily (Clintonia borealis) showing how it got its name!

Sour-top Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtilloides) is starting to ripen and made for some nice snacking along the way!

Bunchberry Dogwood (Cornus canadensis)...

The meadows are in their glory now with Goldenrods, Asters, and Spotted Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum)...

And now for a few wayside "weeds"! 

I haven't identified this little plant yet, but it seems to be another weed just growing along the edge of the field. The tiny flowers are very pretty when viewed up close. 

Wild Mint (Mentha arvensis) is beautiful and smells wonderful too!

But I saved my favorite picture of the day for last! Summer is passing by so quickly. It seems like it was just a few weeks ago I still had some Tulips in the garden, and now all the late summer/early autumn flowers are coming into bloom. It just does not compute! 😁 But there is beauty at all seasons, for which I am deeply grateful.

I hope this finds you enjoying what we have left of Summer and looking forward to the new joys that Fall will bring in a few short weeks! 😊