Monday, September 13, 2010

Wildflower Meadow in September

I paid another visit to the Mount Auburn Cemetery Wildflower Meadow last week and I was floored by the intensity of the blooming.  While it is still a little early for the asters to get going there was a ton of late summer plants going full tilt.  One of my sentimental favorites is the Browneyed Susan, Rudbeckia triloba.  This is a biennial or short lived perennial.  The first year here there were only a few plants in bloom.  This year there were more than a dozen big healthy plants in full bloom. 

Other species shown in this photo are the New England Blazing Star, Liatris scariosa var. novaeangliae, Showy Goldenrod, Solidago speciosa (a showy but aggressive species), and the white, cloud-like Hyssop-leaved Boneset, Eupatorium hyssopifolium.  You can also see traces of some long blooming Shrubby Cinquefoil, Potentilla fruticosa, off to the left.  Among the grasses that are showing off their seed heads are Little Bluestem and Side-oats Grama (foreground).

In a nearby area the Pink Turtlehead, Chelone lyonii, is blooming.  This species is native to a small area of the Southeast, but these are 'escaped' populations also found in the Northeast, from New York to Maine.  White Turtlehead, Chelone glabra, on the other hand, has a much wider native distribution throughout the eastern US.

Forked Bluecurls Close-up

Some other natives that are blooming in the area have also jumped to my attention.  On a recent plant survey a native annual, Forked Bluecurls, Trichostema dichotomum, was blooming profusely on an otherwise dry hilltop in the Boston suburbs.  It stood out as as a rather lush little plant (6-8") with deep blue flowers amongst the dried leaves and grasses.  Its native habitat is on dry or sandy soils of upland woods and old fields.  While some sources indicate it prefers part to full shade, these plants were growing in nearly full sun rooted at the fringes of rocky outcrops where moss and eroded stones collect.  Looking carefully at the blow up, you can see the curly forked stamen that gives this plant its common name.

The last plant to mention this week is the Bearded Beggarticks, Bidens aristosa var. mutica.  After watching this annual grow taller and taller for 3 months (now about 6' tall), it has finally burst into bloom.  These plants are coming back from seed produced from the crop I planted in 2008.  Right now it looks great and the bees love it, but I do question its position in the garden.  This plant is probably better positioned to the back of a border where it forms a green curtain for the first part of summer before it begins its month of bloom in early September.  It also produces a whole lot of viable seed, so if you hate garden 'editing', this may not be the plant for you.

1 comment:

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I'm actually almost shocked at how much is blooming in that meadow so late in the season, your first photo is just stunning!