Saturday, April 21, 2012

Polygala paucifolia, winged gayfeather.....isn't that just the pettiest little thing you've ever seen?

I had weekend watering this week and with it the opportunity, responsibility really, to scrutinize all the plants in the growing facilities at the USNA. I spotted this among the Fern Valley plants (that would be about 5 feet away from the Asian Collection plants?); I don't know how I missed it. I hope Joan can grow it outside. I think of it as a plant of northern woodlands. I just googled it and it is supposed to occur in the mountains as far south as Georgia but it's hard to picture. Possibly there are southern populations that take heat better than the species. Possibly this is a plant from such a population. I know I have seen populations, even drifts, of it but not south of western Pennsylvania. It is surely a beautiful plant.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rosa laevigata, the Cherokee rose

The Cherokee rose, that is, from southern China and actually points even farther south. This is a frightening rose; this young specimen has produced sturdy 10 foot canes in one season. While it has a pleasant perfume, and very attractive and curious hips, the thought of that root system growing and growing and growing frightens me. What if some year we somehow neglect to prune the top?The bottom of the China Valley path will disappear.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Syringa pubescens ssp. microphylla, Late Lilac (white form)

Thursday is volunteer day and today we worked in the Japanese Woodland. Nathan orchestrated an effort to top dress the perennial and fern beds with leaf compost. Many of us helped. The woodland is partially accessible by vehicle. Originally the paths were all wide enough to drive a Mitsubishi or Cushman on, but over the years groundcovers have encroached and plants have grown. It's now possible to drive certain places. We took advantage as best we could. Still, there was wheelbarrowing, throwing, and carrying involved. As always we accomplished a remarkable amount.

As did the other group of volunteers who cut last year's berries out of the nandinas across the trail. There are a lot of nandinas in beds N-1 and N-2 including some cultivars I've never seen anywhere else. They cut and cut and while it looks a lot neater and there are some through views, I don't know where they got 4 truckloads of clippings?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vanessa virginiensis, the American Painted Lady sitting on Buddleja pikei 'Hever's Castle'

I love these butterflies; they're quite often agreeably ready to post. This butterfly bush is in full bloom along the path to the Pagoda. With it are Rosa chinensis 'Minima' and Kolkwitzia amabilis both all in full bloom. Amanda moved them all to this site where a giant cedar grew until felled in a blizzard a few years back.

Pittosporum sublulisepalum...last year's fruit and seeds

As the label states, this was collected by Lawrence Lee et alia in 1988.

I planted some hardy pittosporum today and decided to walk around and check on the ones existing in the collection.

Scientist and son watch the Shuttle from the Arboretum

Dr. Richard and Gavin Olsen.

You never know what you'll find on the lunch table

Tree Peonies at the GCA Circle: they just keep on coming

This seems to be the final rush though and 88F yesterday will hurry them on their way. I hope there are still some around for my walk this Sunday. It's turning out to be a good year for herbaceous peonies anyway and they're a bit later so we'll see most of them in full bloom.

Despite the heat yesterday, I decided to plant a few things. I'd been procrastinating and the forecast predicted today would be much cooler....and it is! Planted a Franklinia alatamaha in the Camellia Collection based on their familiar relationship. I've never had much luck with these plans but the site is good soil and sun wise and I can see it from the road. That means it'll be visible to all of us multiple times daily. Among other things I planted a variegated Pittosporum tobira 'Kansai Sunburst'. Not really hardy for us, tobira, but I put it against a monolithic stonc overlook facing east in an east/west valley. The roots will stay a bit warmer than they would in the open garden, it won't be wet in the winter (though I'm not sure that matters), and no northwest winds. If we have another winter like this past one all will be well. I hope, and think, that it'll be able to take a good bit more cold than that! We'll know this time next year.

Monday, April 16, 2012

There is a wonderful poem about tulips today on Poettry Daily

Even if you're a person who doesn't like poetry you might give this a shot. .

Just click here!