Articles for the Month of November 2015

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day November 2015

Big-Tooth Aspens

Big-Tooth Aspens

It’s been a wonderful fall here in Maryland.  Sunny days, cool nights, and no hard frost yet.  That has allowed some of the flowers to pretend that it is spring.  In particular, one of the Camellia japonica hybrids often gets a jump on the season.

Camellia japonica 'April Tryst'

Camellia japonica ‘Spring’s Promise’

Last year a lot of the Camellias got blasted going through the winter.  I have hopes for a better showing this spring.

Another early showing is the small Daphne at the foot of the garage.

Daphne x 'Lawrence Crocker'

Daphne x ‘Lawrence Crocker’

This one, like many Daphnes, has a wonderful fragrance.

I was surprised to find a Bottle Gentian that had self-seeded in the garden quite about 20 feet away from the nearest source.

Bottle Gentian seedling (Gentiana andrewsii)

Bottle Gentian seedling (Gentiana andrewsii)

I’m not as fond of the Bottle Gentians as I keep waiting for them to open there buds, which never happens.  But most any flower is welcome at this season.

I need to give credit to the little Wallflower that basically blooms the whole year.

Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum) I think

Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum) I think

Tricyrtis also have an extensive bloom time, just about the whole fall season.  Beth found that they also make a nice cut flower.

Tricyrtis 'Sinonome' in Vase

Tricyrtis ‘Sinonome’ in Vase

I was particularly delighted with the Fall Crocus this year.  ‘Conquerer’ is still in bloom for us.

Crocus speciosus 'Conqueror'

Crocus speciosus ‘Conqueror’

Crocus cartwrightianus 'Albus'

Crocus cartwrightianus ‘Albus’

Make a mental note that we need more Fall Crocus next year.  I interplanted them in the grass with Ajuga and Starflowers.  It looks like they all get on fine together.

I can’t resist showing more of the many Oxalis that are blooming in the greenhouse right now.  In this case I’m choosing the semi-folded stage before they fully open for the day.

Oxalis purpurea 'Cherry'

Oxalis purpurea ‘Cherry’

Oxalis versicolor

Oxalis versicolor

Oxalis callosa

Oxalis callosa

So this the state of affairs in mid-November for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  I’ll close with a sunset from the back pasture.

Autumn Sunset on Ball Rd

Autumn Sunset on Ball Rd

 

 

Oxalis in Motion

Oxalis asinia

Oxalis asinia

Oxalis species have wonderful variety in both flowers and foliage.  There are more than 800 species altogether, most from South Africa.  One of the characteristics that I’ve seen in most of the varieties that I’ve grown is a strong responsiveness to light.  Both flowers and leaves can be responsive to light, but the unfolding and refolding of the flowers is particularly lovely to watch.  Rather than just opening and closing they actually twist at the same time so that when closed they take on the aspect of a very tight cylinder.

Oxalis asinia wrapped

Oxalis asinia wrapped

To illustrate the process I made a time-lapse video of Oxalis purpurea ‘Skar’ over a 4 hour period one morning in the dining room.

The flowers come to life as they greet the sun each day.  Notice the untwisting.

Here are some of the other Oxalis that we are enjoying right now.

Oxalis pardalis

Oxalis pardalis

 

Oxalis cathera

Oxalis cathera

 

Oxalis purpea 'Lavender & White'

Oxalis purpea ‘Lavender & White’

 

Oxalis polyphylla var. heptaphylla

Oxalis polyphylla var. heptaphylla

If you are interested in Oxalis I suggest a visit to Telos Rare Bulbs.  Diana Chapman, the proprietor, has an exquisite collection of Oxalis (among many other bulbs).

Another south african that is fully open right now is Polyxena ensifolia.

Polyxena ensifolia

Polyxena ensifolia

So many buds packed into a very tight space.

One other item to mention today is the arrival of Daubyena stylosa.  When we were visitng the Brooklyn Botanic Garden last Thanksgiving I noticed a marvelous Daubyena Stylosa plant in full flower.  It was the first I had ever seen of that species.  However I had just that august planted a few seedlings that I had obtained from a Pacific Bulb Society exchange.  And now the first flowers have arrived on one of those seedlings.

Daubenya stylosa

Daubenya stylosa

 

C&O Canal at Noland’s Ferry

Trail along the C&O canal

Trail along the C&O canal

We’ve had a wonderful extended Autumn with many clear sunny days.  On one of them last week we took a morning walk along the C&O canal.  This national park is only 15-20 minutes from our house.  The overall park is essentially a biking-hiking-running trail that extends 185 miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD.  Noland’s Ferry is at the 45 mile point along the trail and is a broad leaf-strewn walkway in this season.  There are other parts of Frederick County that are lit up with color this time of year, but along the canal it’s mostly greens turning to yellow.  Nonetheless one of the joys of walking is noticing that which is not visible from car or bike.  We walked about 2 miles down the trail towards Washington and then returned, moving at a pace that encouraged observation.  Even at that pace we noticed things on the return part of the trail that we had missed on the outgoing trip.

Some of the most striking elements were fungi.  The Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus looks like a waterfall frozen in time.

Bear's Head Tooth Fungus (Hericium americanum)

Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus (Hericium americanum)

The Jelly Ear Mushroom is said to be good to eat, but we limit ourselves to puffballs (which we have eaten many times).

Jelly Ear Mushroom (Auricularia auricula-judae)

Jelly Ear Mushroom (Auricularia auricula-judae)

And then there was this very phallic white mushroom which I’ve not been able to identify.

Pure White Mushroom

Pure White Mushroom

Along the trail was a very tiny snake, about the size of a worm.  It seems likely this this is an Eastern Smooth Earthsnake.  They do have babies in the fall but they are not very big in any case.  It eats earthworms, slugs, snails, and soft-bodied insects.  On balance that’s the kind of diet I can  appreciate.

Eastern Smooth Earthsnake (Virginia valeriae )

Eastern Smooth Earthsnake (Virginia valeriae )

There were two interesting fruiting plants that we noticed.  Spicebush is a smallish native shrubby tree that is found in wooded lowlands.  It has plants of both the male and female persuasion so it will be interesting to return in spring to see if we can identify them.

Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin)

Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin)

And the Eastern Wahoo is another small native tree that has what seem like packages of pink candy hanging from its branches.

Eastern Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus)

Eastern Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus)

The leaves had not yet turned but like its relative, the Euonymus alatus, the Eastern Wahoo should have strongly colored red leaves.

At one point we looked up and noticed a tree with remarkable orange foliage.  At first I thought sugar maple, but that is not common with us at all.  When I got home and did a little research, it was pretty clear to me that what we saw was Black Maple.  This is a close cousin to the Sugar Maple and as many of the same positive attributes.  It would be worth trying to propagate in our forest.

Black Maple (Acer nigrum)

Black Maple (Acer nigrum)

Black Maple leaf (note the typical 3 lobes)

Black Maple leaf (note the typical 3 lobes)