Todays Ramble Report was written by Don Hunter. All of Don's photos of today's ramble can be see here.
What a difference a week makes. Last Thursday we gathered twenty-five strong, enjoying a balmy 60 degrees at the beginning of the Ramble. This morning the turn-out was fourteen, somewhat smaller than the average Ramble crew, but the fourteen were ready and willing Ramblers, dressed for the brisk 28 or so degrees that greeted us when we stepped out of our vehicles. We all met at the Arbor, talking about the cold, while we gave everyone a chance to arrive. When it looked like all had arrived, a reading was provided by Dale.
Click here for todays reading.
From the arbor through the Shade Garden and into the Dunson Native Flora Garden. Then out of the Dunson Garden toward the Power line ROW fence and left, before the fence, to the junction of the White trail and the Orange trail alternate. We then returned to the lower parking lot via the White trail.
From the Arbor through the Shade Garden:
We admired the growing numbers of red flowers that are present on the large Red Maple visible past the west end of the parking lot. The sub-freezing temperatures of last night may have taken a toll on already emerged blossoms. Only time will tell.
|Emily finds a Ragwort|
As we made our way down the Shade Garden path, Emily stopped to point out the new foliage of Golden Ragwort and its incipient flower buds. Not too much farther down the path, we stopped to look at the blooming Camellia 'Monah Johnstone', a cultivar named after the wife of the first director of the Botanical Garden.
Dunson Native Flora Garden:
As we arrived at the Dunson Native Flora Garden, we stopped briefly at a large Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra), pointing out the distinctive white-capped and flat-topped ridges of bark running up and down the trunk. Nearby we looked for the new foliage of Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) but only some leaves were seen. It should not be too long, however, before we start seeing this “Beauty”.
Nearby, Dale pointed out that several of the small aluminum identification signs are being gnawed on by the squirrels. Squirrels' teeth grow very fast and they have to continuously sharpen and shorten them, so they chew on hard things like twigs, and obviously aluminum signs, to sharpen, clean and trim their long teeth.
We stopped on the foot bridge to look at the American Sycamore tree. The bark of old, mature Sycamore trees is typically dark and rough from the ground up to 6 or more feet. Then it becomes smoother and interestingly patterned. This change is due to the age of the bark. In young trees the bark is smooth from the ground upward. The youngest parts of a tree are at the ends of the trunk and branches and these parts do not have the dark, rough bark of more mature parts. Some Sycamores on the Garden grounds are a little unusual in that they have little or no rough bark near the ground, being mostly smooth in their entirety.
Nearby is a large Florida Torreya, also known as a Stinking Yew or Stinking Cedar, and a Winged Elm (Ulmus alata). We stopped briefly to look at the bark of the Winged Elm.
|Leatherwood flowers & bud|
|White Oak bark|
|Buckeye leaves expanding|
At the base of the Dunson garden, near the Yucca planting Dale pointed out a garden ornament that is sold as a “butterfly house.” It is a birdhouse-type structure that has several narrow vertical slits cut into one side. Although supposedly designed for butterflies to hibernate or shelter in, the butterflies do not read the advertisements and they ignore the houses. Such "butterfly houses" should be renamed for what they really are: wasp or spider houses.
Beyond Dunson Garden and back to Parking Lot:
We retired to Dondero’s a little earlier than normal and, after waiting for Dondero’s to open, we enjoyed some warm drinks and refreshment and some great conversation.