Thursday, July 3, 2014

June 19 2014 Ramble Report

The reading today was from Bill Pierson.  Two Haiku:

An old pond--                
a frog jumps in
the sound of water
          Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)

An old pond--
after jumping in,
no frog
          Kameda Bōsai(1752–1826

Our ramble today was through the International Garden to the Physic Garden, Heritage Garden, and Flower Garden to see the Native Flower Meadows, then down the Purple Trail to the Orange trail.  Then the Orange upriver to the Power Line Right of Way and up the Power line Right of Way to some mints.  We returned to the White Trail and back to the Arbor.

Don Hunter's photos of the ramble can be seen at this link.
Oakleaf Hydrangea
As we entered the International Garden (Southeastern Section) we noted the Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia), a native shrub that Carol and I had once planted in our yard at Homewood.  For the deer in that area it was deer candy.  They ate it to the ground.  Also in this area was Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) which has been blooming a long time.  It was nice to see Crimson BeeBalm (Monarda didyma) in brilliant red.  The Stokes' aster (Stokesia laevis), a rare plant from the Coastal Plain, was still blooming. Someone asked about the fine leaved plant without flowers. It was the remains of sandhill blue star (Amsonia ciliata)

Passing the Silverbell tree, a Halesia cultivar that we had admired when it was in bloom earlier this year was now showing its distinctive angled seed pod.

Ramblers & Bottlebrush Buckeye
For weeks we have observed the buds of bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora).  Today it was in full bloom, maybe even a little past full bloom.  In any case, it was planted all around the pool below the Flower Bridge.  Also in the pool was beauty berry (Callicarpa americana) in full bloom.  We await the beautiful purple berries that come later.  There was some discussion of whether hummingbirds would pollinate the bottlebrush buckeye.  James H. Miller and Karl V. Miller in their Forest Plants of the Southeast and their Wildlife Uses on page 304 say, "Because buckeyes flower early, they are an important nectar source for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, especially A. pavia."

We noted a fence around a very tall Crepe Myrtle with striking bark.  The reason is that people were carving their initials in the tree trunk.  The curator caught a person doing that and asked why she did it.  The answer was that others had done so, so she thought it was okay.  At that point the fence was installed to prevent further damage.  Nearby was a Korean dogwood in bloom.  On this tree the flowers bloom after the leaves come out.  Our native dogwood is the other way around.   In the endangered plant garden there was a raft of Garden coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria).  I was a bit puzzled that the petals did not have red marks.  I wonder if that id is correct.  In this bed we also saw the budding Hairy Rattleweed (Baptisia arachnifera).  This is a rare plant that only grows in 2 counties in the Coastal Plain of Georgia.  Carol always thought we should write a book on our photo adventures with the title, "In Search of the Hairy Rattleweed."  Another flowering rare plant was the dwarf sumac (Rhus michauxii).  It grows in just a few places in the Piedmont.  Recently the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance has established a safeguarding site in the Broad Rive Wildlife Management Area, and the most recent observations show that it is doing very well.  Since male and female flowers are on separate plants it is hard for them to get together.  Both types of plants were established at the safeguarding site.

Rattlesnake Master & Wild Bergamot
Nearby was a mullein (Verbascum thapsus). Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) was flowering in the Physic Garden.  This garden includes medicinal plants, and yarrow was used to stop bleeding, so that it was sometimes called bloodwort.  In the Physic Garden many plants were blooming:  colicroot (Aletris farinosa), wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium), rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), and wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and a Madigascar vinca that is used in treating leukemia.

About this time Ronnie found a sleeping firefly.  We were passing the wall with climbing fig (ficus pumila}.

Our next stop was the Franklinia Tree (Franklinia alatamaha), which is a clone of the tree that William Bartram in 1790 brought back to Philadelphia from the banks of the Altamaha River near Darien, GA.

As we rambled down the slope to the Flower Garden we saw the flowering sourwood (Oxydendrum arboretum) way high in the canopy.  As one travels the woodland trails at this time remnants of these flowers are scattered over the trail.  A cultivar of yarrow, golden yarrow (Achillea 'Coronation Gold') was blooming next to the path on the way to the meadow.

Crimson Beebalm
There were not so many flowers actually blooming in the wildflower meadow.  Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa),, black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta), partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata), and Mexican hat (Rudbeckia columnifera). There was a bed of crimson bee balm (Monarda didyma) that was looking spectacular. As we were leaving the Flower Garden we found lemon mint (Monarda citriodora).

Down the Purple Trail to the River, chalk maple (Acer leucoderme) was an indicator of more basic soil than the usual acid soil of the Piedmont.  The reason is that there is a seam of amphibolite that runs down the Orange Trail and across this area to the river.  Nearby was a Georgia mint not flowering. The sign indicates an older name Satureja georgiana, but it is now called Clinopodium georgianum. There are quite a few in a power line right of way in Whitehall Forest, which can be entered at the end of Milledge. A deer scooted out of sight beyond the deer fence.

Golden St. John's wort
At the end of the Purple Trail turning right onto the Orange trail was a lot of flowering golden St. Johnswort (Hyperidum frondosum).

As we walked the Orange Trail along the river through a privet tunnel, we found a number of things to talk about.  First of all, Charlie Wharton has commented that one of the reasons why privet (Ligustrum sinense) is so prevalent on the floodplain, is that there are not many competing native shrubs on the floodplain, just mostly grasses--giant cane (Arundinaria giganteum)  and river oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).  The
Cross Vine
privet has taken over and become in fact sub canopy trees.  Nonetheless, there are a lot of vines along this stretch:  cross vine (Bignonia capreolata), round leaf greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia), cinnamon vine (Dioscorea oppositafolia), and lance leaf greenbrier (Smilax small).  On the cinnamon vine Don spotted an insect that has turned out to be a nymph stage of an assassin bug.  We spent some time distinguishing box elder (Acer negundo) sprouts from poison ivy.  The main difference being that box elder, being a maple, has opposite leaves.  Poison ivy does not.  River oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) were beginning to flower, and some native cane was in evidence.  The dominant
Green Ash fruits (seeds)
trees in the canopy of the floodplain were mainly green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica).  We found their fruit on the trail.  The wing extended beyond the middle of the round part of the seed which distinguishes it from a white ash seed. At several spots we found wing stems, some alternative leaf and others opposite leaf, but they did not look all that happy in the tunnel.  One was winding around looking for the light.  As we were leaving the tunnel of privet, Hugh pointed out the leaf of coral bead (Cocculus carolinus), a vine that will have brilliant red berries in the fall.

Wild Leek
Flowering in the power line right of way in the floodplain were wild leeks (Allium ampeloprasum).  Knowing the passionflower vine was in this area, we looked for it, but were unsure whether we could identify it at this stage.  We repeated Dale's  story of the wasps that lay eggs in goldenrod stems inject a growth enzyme which causes the round globe in the stem to protect the eggs.  Avis pointed out a pile of saw dust that seemed to be coming from a woody plant that was cut off.  It looked like it might have been the work of a solitary bee making a hole in the pith of the plant.  On the trail was the white flower of the Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana), which forms a crawling mat.

A photographer was photographing some children.  Parents were using  stuffed animals waved in the air to keep the kids active for the camera.  At that point we found common St. Johnswort (Hypericum punctatum) with black dots on the underside of the leaves that could be seen with a hand lens.  More wild bergamot (Mondarda fistulosa) was flowering here.

At the road, Hugh showed everyone the heliotrope (Heliotropium amplexicaule).

Across the road was a bunch of the striking orange butterfly weed or chigger weed (Asclepias
Queen Anne's Lace
tuberosa).  The last time we were here, someone asked if one could buy butterfly weed plants at the visitor center.  The answer is no.  Heather Alley propagates the plants, but she only has enough for the fall and spring sales.  They fly off the shelf.  In amongst the grasses nearby were Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota).  Later we found the flower with a purple center.  Not all have it.  There is a myth that while Queen Anne was making lace she pricked her finger leaving the purple center flower. All along the power line right of way the low blue wild petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis) was scattered.

Trumpet vine flowers
A huge pine tree had many intertwining vines climbing all over it.  One was poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans); the other was trumpet vine (Campsis radicans).  They were so intertwined that it was causing confusion as to which leaf belonged to which flower.

Don pointed out a whole group of plants on the side of the path:  field madder (Sherardia arvensis), common yellow wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta), and Carolina geranium (Geranium carolinianum).

Bitterweed (Helenium amarum) was still blooming along with scattered false dandelion (Carolina desert chickory according to Dale) (Pyrrhopappus carolinianus).   Along the way we found heal-all (Prunella vulgaris), and mountain mint (Pycnanthemum incanum) which wasn't blooming although its top leaves were turning white.  We went this far mainly to see the variety of colors in which wild bergamot flowers come.

At this point we headed back to the Arbor.  Some retired to Donderos' for a snack.


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