Saturday, September 20, 2014

The sod is here, the sod is here!





We've been waiting for this for a long time. For the whole space to come together. While the Administration Building was being renovated, the area immediately surrounding it, including the North Court shown here, were fenced of and unavailable to us. It was difficult ot watch the weeds grow unchecked season after season. Well, we've had the space back for a couple years now and Brad's plantings  have been spectacular but the grassy area inside the "L" of the building became one of those spaces that just wasn't bad enough to get itself attended to. The grade wasn't great but it wasn't horrible, the condition of the turf was close to horrible, but when you mow green plants they turn into a lawn of sorts.....

Anyway, this year we had the opportunity to install a tent pad  of permeable pavers (for outdoor events). It went in this summer and we graded the space, installed irrigation, and this morning the  sod went down. It's already a beautiful space. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

I knew it was going to happen. Bidens aristosa is covering the Arboretum!

It is indeed a showy tickseed! If we have to be overrun, this is the way to go. Every year it turns more of the Arboretum gold in the late summer. We have acres of it now. I took these pictures a couple weeks ago (before my cornea transplant). There are sill flowers today though only hundreds of thousands, not millions. Maybe only tens of thousands. We've been watching this spread since... well since it first exploded  . It first appeared in the Fern Valley Meadow and Prairie, it's reaching into the ellipse and overtaken the triangle between the meadow and the paper birches in the National Grove of State Trees. And it's established beachheads along Springhouse Run, fields abutting Research Nurseries, and throughout the arboretum any place it finds a sunny space.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wild Collected Cornus kousa flowers fading to pink/red





This young dogwood has been growing in the Asian Collections at the USNA for about 15 years but has never looked especially vigorous. Last year (2013) that changed. The leaves took on a better color, there were more of them, and the tree didn't shed small branches as it had over the past 4-5 years. Sometimes it takes a while for a plant to acclimate to a site. Fifteen years seems like a long time, but this site, soilwise, isn't the greatest so I'm just happy that it's finally happy!

This spring it had a few more flowers than the smattering it had produced heretofore and the bracts assumed this intense color as they aged. There must be a genetic component but the question is, will it continue to do this? It's possible that the color is primarily a result of environmental conditions. We had a remarkably wet spring/early-summer last year, a very cold winter, and a late spring. We'll watch next spring to see what happens.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Flowers in the sun



Saw a lot of gardens this weekend; I loved these flowers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The year of the buttercup!

We are overrun with buttercups this year in Washington DC and environs. I often wonder what it is that accounts for explosions of a particular plant. We had quite a cold winter....but we had a very wet spring and early summer last year. Those are just what comes to mind. I'm sure the answer is different and more complex so I'll just try to enjoy the color without thiniking "weed".