Saturday, May 22, 2010

Natives in my Meadow

I transplanted a few natives into the meadow today, including this, whorled loosestrife, Lysimachia quadrifolia, which has been volunteering in my flowerbeds. These delicate little plants have some substantial underground roots that pop up more delicate plants feet away. . . which makes them ideal for a meadow, and unruly for a flowerbed. Here is what it will look like when those tiny buds open:

The first ones I moved transplanted beautifully. They went from one very dry location into another, and never so much as slumped.

This slumping, furry thing is clammy ground cherry, Physalis heterophylla, and it is one of the most exciting native plants I have found in my yard, because it produces delicious, abundant fruit. You can read more about the fruit and see a picture of last autumn's harvest here.

The ground cherries, like the loosestrife, spread, from what I can tell, through some amazing roots. I once tried transplanting this into a flowerbed, which wasn't a good idea. This plant needs room to roam.

Another annoying weed in other contexts: pokeweed, or Phytolacca americana. You can read more about it here. Last summer I had to evict a few that had grown in inconvenient locations, and, wow, they have monstrous tubers. Think of a carrot, as big around as your wrist, and the length of your lower arm. No wonder they are hated as weeds!

I stuck the poke tubers at various locations in the meadow, but this was the only one that grew back. Perhaps my crude extraction methods were too rough on them.

This was today's big surprise. While mowing, a purple violet caught my eyes - but violet season is over! I just stopped short of mowing it down. It's actually in the iris family: a tiny perennial called blue-eyed grass. Its foliage is so grass-like that if it weren't for the flower, I never would have seen it.

There are several varieties of blue-eyed grass, of which I could guess that this is stout blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium angustifolium, but that's a wild guess.

The one in the lawn got moved into the meadow. This other one in the picture I found among the blueberries at the wood's edge. And ironically, blue-eyed grass is one of the plants that I ordered from a nursery just last week.

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