Monday, March 31, 2008

Piling Up

The Daffodil pictures are beginning to backup.

It is still a ways to peak bloom, but mercy there's a lot of Daffodils here now.

I cleaned out a bed on the north side of the resident gardeners house of all the dried stalks of last year's perennials and then went and worked at my client's place this afternoon.

I don't feel like trying to name all these Daffodils.

Something new has showed up. It is looking more like a Muscari than a Scilla. If the flowers actually open with petals, than it is a Scilla. The foliage looks more Scilla like.

Alliums, some quite hefty, are coming up in a lot of places. They bloom much later than the spring bulbs. I think I missed them last year due to The Great Easter Freeze of 07. They were froze to the ground without ever having a chance to bloom.

A big clump of the Cyclamineus Narcissus.

And another.

There are a lot of Daffodils here.

A Bulbpodge

One small bed of what came up at the client's garden. This does not include the Tulips I planted. You can just make some of them out in the background in the open space between the Dwarf Holly shrubs. The 400 tulips I planted are well behind all the pre-existing bulbs, but they're coming up.

A couple of weeks ago I enlarged this bed because things were coming up in the lawn. Many years and probably several gardeners and this is what you get. Not Bad.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The WNC Orchid Show At The NCA

I didn't get there. This ragged old picture from me will warm you up,

For a nice photographic presentation of the Orchid show from Ashvegas.

Rumor has it that Xris from Flatbush Gardener who is in town visiting made it to the show as well. We await his sure to be excellent post on the show.

After the Paper Work

It really is nice to be able to wander around aimlessly for over an hour on a mountaintop garden after finishing another round of job application paper work. I can stay on the beaten path or blaze new trails. Either way I am going to see something I didn't see the day before.

A new Daffodil, the Small Cup 'Barrett Browning' perhaps, is adding to the show.

I can't have you get sick of Daffodils too soon, so let's wander into the woods.

The Hepatica, Anemone acutiloba, (I'll stick with that ID), is showing a blush of pink as more drifts of it push through the leaf litter on the forest floor.

Even in low light, some shade and setting the camera to accept less light, yellow is a tough color to crack. I'm getting more sure this is Viola rotundifolia with the discovery of unfurling leaves.

Violets and Orchids mix on the shady slope opposite my small cabin to be.

The Spring Beauty, Claytonia sp. is becoming a lush carpet.

And Oh Joy, I found two more patches of Ramp, my future cash crop. One quite large one well off the beaten path.

Back at the main entry to the "civilized" portion of the mountain, Puschkinia, Scilla and Chionoxa take over from the Snowdrops. Some small Narcissus with potential multiple flowers per stem waits in the wings.

Am I really going to have to give up this luxury for a job?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Violet Revolution

Has Begun

No leaves yet. A tentative ID is Viola rotundifolia. Of course there are several other yellow flowered violet choices.

The first sighting of Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis.

A Poppy relative in the Papaveraceae family.

Friday, March 28, 2008

I Brake For Daffodils

Or is that, Procrastinate with Daffodils?

Spring has increased the tempo of items that need my attention.

Which makes it all the more important to wander slowly around a wakening mountain.

Plowing The Front Fourty

The installation of the new utility poles and much thicker electric wire has been a big improvement. The power stays on pretty regular now. Considering what they did and the terrain on which it was done, they did a fine job and the damage was minimal. The water line to the roadside vegetable garden was cracked. It will be repaired before I turn it back once the freeze danger has passed.

Their big trucks however left deep tracks in the dormant vegetable production area that funneled melting snow and rain water straight to the top of my driveway. With increasing warmer weather and a short stretch of low additions of atmospheric moisture, it was a good time to plow the front fourty.

It might have been easier with a plow and a mule. The tiller did not want to start until I found an old spark plug from another tool that would work. Between the abundance of small rocks that liked to get stuck in the blades, bringing things to a stop and the compacted soil, it took a good portion of the day to get the job done.

A call from the resident gardeners reminded me not to plow under their wildflowers that surround the perimeter of the roadside vegetable garden. Of course I would not do that.

I'd like to go get a free load of wood chips to cover the whole thing. It will suppress the weeds, keep in the moisture and add organic matter over time. There is a spot down by the river where the tree trimmers dump their loads and you can just go load it up and take it away.

My potential future cash crop is beginning to come up down in the forest. Ramps, Allium tricoccum is a highly desired native. I collected and sowed Ramp seed last fall. Last year when I arrived the leaves were long gone. Only by knowing the location of this patch was I able to look for the flowers and wait for the ripe seed.

I will certainly have my eye out for more as I wander through the forest this spring. Twenty years from now the Ramps might just rival the Daffodils in number.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Puschkinia clydotica ?

Could it be here already, a new species or hybrid?

Puschkinia libanotica is closely related to Scilla and Chionodoxa. We got plenty o' Puschkinia. It is near white with a blue stripe down the center of the petals.

There are small deep blue flowers sprinkling the ridge top garden in ever more locations. I took them all to be the Chionodoxa forbesii. They are tiny, five inches tall maybe, for the biggest ones. Without my glasses, the small deep blue flowers are indistinguishable.

Then I started looking closer because of the strange new one I found that looked like a mix between the Puschkinia and the Chionodoxa. I discovered there are two kinds of small deep blue flowers sprinkling the ridge top garden. Leave it to the crazy bulb lady.

This must be Scilla siberica. This tiny bulb's flower has visible stamens and anthers, unlike the Puschkinia and the Chionodoxa. And unlike the Chionodoxa it has a stripe down the center of the petal.

Looking down at them I just saw small deep blue flowers.

Then I saw this, what looked like a blue tinged Puschkinia. I noticed the stamens and realized this was different which lead to the discovery of the Scilla.

I could not find a Scilla like this in the catalog or an internet search.

Could it be? Is this something entirely new? White petals with a blue blush, a stripe down the center and visible stamens. The petals seem to have a bit of a curl as well.

Puschkinia clydotica?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Positive Identification

Living in the most species rich area of eastern North America may be giving me a headache. The Southern Appalachia has to be a major battle ground between the splitters and the lumpers in plant identification and nomenclature. There doesn't ever seem to be just one of something. There are two or more, all closely related, and they are not in the least bit shy about interbreeding.

This lovely orchid, Goodyera pubescens, Downy Rattlesnake Plantain has a dwarf sibling, Goodyera repens. The difference is that the dwarf species is 1dm smaller and has a fewer flowered, more open raceme. Now how is someone supposed to decide if a plant they see is a dwarf or just not well fed and in a good location?

The general way it seems to work is that a species is wide spread along the east coast up into Canada and then there is "The Other" species in the mountains of North Carolina that mixes with the more wide spread one. I found this patch of Goodyera today that has much bigger leaves than most of the others I have seen here. Maybe I have both.

This is not Dwarf Ginseng or that other Weed. It is a wide spread species of eastern North America, Cutleaf Toothwort, Cardamine concatenata aka Dentaria laciniata. Starting along the moist seeps in the mountain side, it is beginning to carpet the forest floor. "Three other Toothworts occur in the state." Hmmm, should I look closer at these tiny plants?

A quick search reveals that another leaf I have been seeing plenty of in the forest is Cardamine angustata, Slender Toothwort. That's two Toothworts up here so far. This is just another shot of the Cutleaf one.

Here we have Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica, maybe. The closely related Claytonia caroliniana is restricted to the rich woods of the mountains and differs only in its elliptic leaves that are 1.5 to 7 cm long.

Oh, the Hepatica! Which one is it? Anemone acutiloba or Anemone americana?

They can both have white or rose colored flowers and there is a quibble over one being able to have pale blue and the other lavender flowers.

The main difference it seems is the leaves. One has more pointed leaf lobes and the other has more rounded lobes with a less pronounced point.

Both can occur in the mountains of Western North Carolina and they are starting to bloom like crazy.

This horticultural Anemone blanda can bloom in a range from pure white, light to deep pink, light blue all the way through to deep purple and it is still Anemone blanda. I like that. I think I would be a lumper.

No one in the garden blogosphere hopefully wants to put incorrect information out there on the world wide web. I sure don't. I also don't like being wrong. I may just need to post a disclaimer on my blog. "Plant species are identified to the best of my ability. It could be wrong, but it is most likely pretty dern close."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blue Daffodils

Monday, March 24, 2008

Other Than Daffodils

I might be giving the impression that this mountain is only covered in 10,000 Daffodils, but there are other things.

The Large Cupped Narcissus 'Juanita' floats in the air above the smaller inhabitants. I know this is 'Juanita' because she is one of the few with a name tag.

Back in November when I planted the bulb care packages I received from Elizabeth and Hank at my own garden next door, I wasn't really certain how some of them would do in the long term. Would they keep coming back and multiply? Would they get ett up by the varmints? The care packages included bulbs that are now coming up at the resident gardeners place. I can now tell Elizabeth with assurance that Chionodoxa forbesii will grow with abandon here.

Down in the wild woods other new things are coming up. This is unidentified at the moment. It looks suspiciously like Panax trifolius, Dwarf Ginseng, but the flower buds are not looking right.

I have decided that my previous unknown white flower and new leaves in the woods both belong to Anemone americana, Hepatica or Liverwort. A closer inspection yielded some of the same flowers with the new leaves and dried leaves from last year of the Hepatica. Mostly they seem to be putting up new leaves or flowers, not both at the same time on the same plant.

Another orchid was discovered. This one is Tipularia discolor, Crane-Fly Orchid. The underside of the leaf is quite purple. It is another orchid that has a leaf in the winter and blooms in the summer after the leaf has faded.

Back at the ridge top garden, the first of what looks like a Hyacinth has shown up.

This is another unknown for now. It is looking lily like in it's leaf arrangement.

Hank sent me some of the Puschkinia libanotica bulbs in his care package. Now I can tell him that they will also grow here with abandon. These small bulbs are popping up all over the place. That would be called naturalizing I suppose.

Some have larger flower stalks than others. It would be hard to tell if this is an age related issue from self seeding or an environmental soil/location issue. Who cares? They are everywhere.

If you add them all up, these "minor bulbs" are competing in numbers with the Daffodils. The Hyacinthoides hispanica alone may out number the Daffodils and they have yet to begin to bloom.

There's only 9,500 Daffodils left to go.