What’s Blooming Now, and Protecting a Rare Find

With the heat and humidity trading punches it’s very apparent that summer is upon us.  As usual, the plants are loving life, so here’s some pretty pictures of their blooms:

IMG_5036Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)

IMG_5035Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera)

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  Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis)

Those were all in pots in the nursery.  From there I wandered through our propagation beds….IMG_4991

 Evening Primrose (Oenethera fruticosa (ssp. subglosa)) in the East Pasture

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 New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) also likes the abundant sun and scarce water in the East Pasture.IMG_4990

 As does Goat Rue (Tephrosia virginiana). IMG_5005

Down in the Valley I found Anglepod or Milkvine (Matelea gonocarpos).  I love the pentagon in the center.  Compare to:IMG_5033

Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) in our front bed. Flowers with parts of five.  Both make angular seed pods.  Both in the Dogbane Family (Apocynaceae).

The rare find came as I was wandering through the valley getting azalea cuttings.  I turned around and all of a sudden:

IMG_5006Fire Pink (Silene virginica) ! We have been trying to find someone with a legitimately local Piedmont genotype for a while, and all along it was right here at Beech Hollow.  We couldn’t see it because the deer are quite fond of eating anything with a flower stalk down to the ground. Long live coyotes, cougars and wolves.  Anyway, fertile seeds are hard to come by from this species, so we knew we had to protect the 6-8 flowering plants I found.  We returned to the valley with the appropriate fencing and tools.

IMG_5014Cages were made.photo 4

Wooden stakes will hopefully hold the cages down even if overzealous deer try to move them.IMG_5019

 Pointy (soon with rusty tips!) “discouragement.”IMG_5021

Fingers crossed for fertile seed!