Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some Surprises in July

Redwhisker Clammyweed, Polanisia dodecandra, is a name I didn’t think I would be saying this year (who does?), but a few remaining seeds that I harvested from a lone plant germinated to give me a couple of strong seedlings. This annual is native to most of the U.S. and is often found in gullies and streambeds. It likes really well drained soils. With that in mind, when I transplanted these guys up I added sand and Perlite to my regular potting mix along with a layer of pea stones to the bottom of the pot to improve drainage.

This plant bears some resemblance to cleome, but is smaller and bushier. The white, cleome-like flowers have very long stamen.  Some reports refer to it being a stinky plant, but, to me, it does not smell as bad as a cleome. Check out the NPIN website for more information and photos of larger, more mature plants.

As a result of not mowing my lawn for nearly a month, due to droughty conditions, I got another surprise. Some seeds for a Philadelphia Fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus, germinated and went into bloom without my noticing. The seeds came from a plant that I rescued during a weeding job and left in a pot next to my house. This species is a little less common than the Annual Fleabane, E. annuus, which occasionally shows up on the edges of my property. I wouldn’t mind having more of these, but that would make quite an obstacle course if I insisted on continuing to mown my lawn as well.

I was also pleased to see the American Bellflower, Campanulastrum americanum, growing in some difficult locations. In rich soil these plants get very tall and lanky. This one, growing in the shade of a Norway Maple is more compact. I’ll keep a watch to see if it continues to look nice through the season. As a biennial, it sends its first year as a rosette of leaves only a few inches tall. I have a bumper crop of these from last years flowering crop. I think I will be moving more of these under this dreaded maple.

Lastly, here’s a recent photo of one of the Rock Harlequins that I planted in a rock wall. This is more akin to its natural environment. This has taken some extra irrigation to keep it going, since my wall is quite dry and does not collect moisture the way a real rocky cliffside would.


Laurrie said...

I love that little corydalis in the stone wall. I recently saw an entire stone wall just covered in mature blooming corydalis and it's quite a sight. And a friend had a volunteer pop up in a crack in a tightly paved stone patio, and it was nice and full. How do they grow in rocks??

Curtis said...

I think that they are very efficient at scavenging nutrients and water from very small volumes of soil. In the rock they are rooted into to debris that gets trapped between the rocks. While they can get by on very thin soil, they don't do that well when put into direct cometition with other plants.