Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reading the Woodland Garden

Day 238
The Daily DuBrule

I've been doing a lot of driving around lately. It's interesting to be able to "read" the landscape based on the color of the leaves of the plants. During the rest of the year, it all looks like a big green glob. It takes a good eye (especially while going 60 on Rt. 9) to spot native and invasive plants.

At this time last year I was meandering down Rt. 80 in Killingworth enjoying the foliage display. I was getting ready for a talk called "Why Natives?" for a garden club the following week. Out the window I saw the woods ablaze with red foliage. I pulled over and grabbed my camera. Burning bush. A perfect example of why we don't plant it anymore. The woods was filled with it, blocking out the native plants that our native pollinators depend on. I probably wouldn't have noticed it at any other time of year.
Poison ivy is easy to spot this week.
Poison ivy has spread under my Pinus flexilis
Ditto for another native-poison ivy. I knew I had some growing in my wild border. Now I can easily spot it, don my rubber gloves, and eradicate it. I usually get poison ivy in the winter months as I don't know I am touching it without the leaves to warn me and you can definitely get poison ivy from the stems, trust me, I have many times. Unfortunately, as I tromped through the weeds in my way-back yard, I realized it has spread throughout that large area. My heart sank. But at least I now know its there when I go foraging for grapevines.
Poison ivy growing up into a mature pine.
Grapevines are also easy to spot this week. I pull the young ones down to make wreaths and garlands and it is like a reconnaissance mission to see where they are now that the leaves are yellow. It always surprises me to find that have wound their way up into some of my valuable evergreens and shrubs on the margins of the untamed hillside.
Grapevines make themselves known this week
At this time of year I can spot stands of Clethra, Lindera benzoin (spicebush), and Calycanthus floridus (Carolina allspice). It makes me happy to see these plants thriving-instead of a woodland filled with red burning bush. I even spotted some sweetfern, which had turned a beautiful shade of burgundy red, along the ledges on Rt. 9. I know I spend too much time looking at the plants and not enough time looking at the road. I just can't help myself, I find it so interesting to discover where these native plants are thriving.
Carolina allspice

Sweetfern-Comptomia peregrina

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