Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Wildflower Garden Today

A little rain this morning, but the sun came out this afternoon, lighting up the beautiful flowers now blooming in my backyard. I'm not really a gardener, since I choose to spend most of my outdoor time in the woods or on the water, so the flowers I planted at home have to be the kind that take care of themselves. I never water nor fertilize them (aside from raking Black Locust leaves on the beds for the winter). My goal is to have all native plants, but I'm not about to rip out my lilacs -- nor any other introduced species and volunteers that mind their manners and fend for themselves without babying. So here's what's in bloom today.

Canada Anemone. I love how its snowy blooms lighten the deep shade under the Black Locust trees.

Rugosa Rose. I think of this as a seaside rose, but it does very well as a screen in front of my garbage cans, one of the very few spots in my yard that gets more than an hour or so of sun. Smells wonderful, too. This bumble bee was so excited, he was all atremble and set the rose to quivering, too.

Bellflower, species unknown. I rescued four plants of these showy bellflowers from Congress Park, where they were growing wild in the grass at the foot of a tree. Mowers would cut them down each year just before they came into bloom, so last year I dug them up and brought them home. And wow, what a show they put on! Much prettier and less invasive than the Creeping Bellflower that grows all along the foundation of my house. But I have yet to determine their species. Most likely, they are garden escapees.

Mountain Laurel. I've never found this species of laurel growing wild in Saratoga County, although Sheep Laurel does. Bog Laurel would, too, but we don't have many bogs around here. All of the laurel blossoms pull the same trick of cocking their stamens in tiny depressions in the petals, then springing loose when a visiting insect arrives and whamming its back with pollen. After the pollinating insect departs, the stamens reposition themselves to do it again.

Spiderwort. One of our showiest native wildflowers, it blooms profusely and for a long time, and spreads a little without taking over. Each flower blooms for just a day, as do its close relatives, the much smaller dayflowers.

Trumpet Honeysuckle. Again, a very showy native. Hummingbirds love it and so do I. Who could resist its brilliant color scheme? It didn't bloom last summer because a rabbit gnawed it off at the ground, but this summer it seems to be making up for lost time. I think somebody else must have gnawed on the rabbit, because I never saw any rabbits around last winter.

I also have Common Fleabane and White Avens and Lady's Thumb blooming now, all volunteers and none of which is very showy. But next week should bring American Bush Honeysuckle's pretty yellow trumpets and Oswego Tea's brilliantly red explosions of bloom. Stay tuned.

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