Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rainy-day Rambles

I heard it was going to rain again today, so I ran out to my woodland garden this morning to try to capture some of the flowers there before their blooms were beaten down by showers. My goal as a gardener is to plant all native perennials, and they have to be those that can tolerate quite a bit of shade. Happily, we have some real beauties native to this part of the world that are suited to a shady garden. With just a little morning sun, this Trumpet Honeysuckle rewards me (and the hummingbirds) with an amazing display of vivid color.

There are not many other shrubs that produce such an abundance of bloom in partial shade as does Mountain Laurel.

These Large Bellflowers also produce an abundance of bloom, but only for a day or two. I believe this is an introduced species, not a native. I've never seen it growing wild, except in my local park, where it was growing in a lawn that got mowed each year just as the flowers were starting to bloom. I decided to give those plants a more hospitable home in my back yard, and they have rewarded me with a marvelous, although too brief, display.

Sure enough, as soon as I got out of church, the rain came down. No matter. I donned my raincoat and headed out to the Skidmore Woods to look for Four-leaved Milkweed.

I had seen this pretty little white-flowered milkweed growing in Oakwood Cemetery in Troy two days ago, so this seemed the right time to find it at Skidmore, too. I didn't find it there last year, possibly because I didn't look for it in time. Its numbers seem to be diminishing there, as well. I wandered the woods for a couple of hours before I found just one plant blooming along a trail. Even in the damp and dark, it would be hard to miss, if its flowers were open.

I think I will try to gather some seed this year and see if it will grow in my own backyard.

There aren't many flowers in bloom in the woods right now. June is definitely the season for green. But some of the green stuff is fascinating, too. I love the puffy little seed pods forming now on the Hop Hornbeam trees.

The Rattlesnake Ferns have sent up their spore stalks that look like clusters of yellow-green beads.

On my way home I found a big patch of Comfrey growing in a vacant lot. This may be a coarse and prickly plant, but its flowers are certainly lovely. And I understand it has many medicinal uses.

Wild Lupine's flowers have long gone to seed, producing pods that make it clear this plant is related to our common garden peas. I love how their bristles have beaded up with rain.

Here's another pea cousin blooming right now, and a really pretty one. This is Everlasting Pea. I don't know how it got that name. Anybody?

Catalpa will grow long bean-like pods, eventually, but right now it has the most beautiful ruffly flowers that have a delightful fragrance.


June said...

We had a catalpa tree at a house we rented while this one was being built.
I loved the showy little flowers!

Anonymous said...

For a damp and dismal day in
green' June, you managed to find spectacular variety of colors! Such a pleasure!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Hi June. I remember the first time I saw catalpa flowers, I thought they were orchids. So lovely!

Thanks for stopping by, hikeagiant. Mostly, I manage to find these colorful June flowers by planting them in my garden. They're out there in the woods somewhere, I suppose, but few and far between.