Not a day passes anymore that I don't learn something new about plants, and I don't think a whole lifetime would be long enough to learn all there is to know...even supposing I could travel the world and see them all! I was just coming out of the woods the other day when I noticed a small tree growing in the middle of a thicket of Red Osier dogwood. Even from a distance I thought the flowers looked unusual, and so, with some difficulty, I made my way up to it! This is the Guelder Rose, also known as High Bush Cranberry. But whether it is the European Vibunum opulus, or the American Viburnum opulus var. americanum, I don't know!
Each flower cluster is surrounded by a ring of showier blossoms, which are sterile.
Apparently, the only way to tell the difference between the European and American forms (at least before the berries ripen) is by the shape of the tiny glands where the leaf joins the stem (there are more correct botanical terms for these, but I can't remember them!). In the European form, the glands are supposed to be more flat and slightly cup shaped and the American form is more columnar.
The glands on this plant are extremely tiny and I can't decide for sure, but I'm leaning towards American.
Yesterday, I found another one growing in the field...
The flowers look a bit different...or is it just that they aren't as mature? The inner flowers aren't open yet.
And the glands on this plants are much more pronounced and obviously flat and cup shaped, so I assume that this is European. One article I read said that the two forms also hybridize, which makes it even more confusing! Either way, it is a beautiful plant and the flowers look beautiful in a vase...but I'm waiting til Monday to show you that. ;)
I've also been paying more attention to the different ferns in the woods and was struck by the size of these. I believe they are Ostrich ferns, but correct me if I'm wrong! It was funny...when I was trying to identify them, I googled "giant fern", and the first thing that came up was the Mules Foot fern, which is native to Madagascar. If you haven't seen it, I would recommend looking it up...I don't think ours are so "giant" any more!
I know this is getting long, but it's been a while since I posted a garden update, and I probably won't have another chance to do so until next week if I don't do it now! The first half of June was decidedly chilly (we had a light frost on the 15th!) but everything has been thriving. This is probably the spiciest flower garden in the world. The groundhog is still around, despite all my efforts, so I have been dusting all the vulnerable plants with cayenne pepper every few days!
I love lupines!
The Valerian has gotten so tall this year!
The Sweet Rocket was so fragrant early this morning!
The groundhog was also raiding the vegetable garden and the only things he was leaving behind were the onions and garlic, and weeds of course! So I put up a fence to keep him out.
Well, there are so many other things I could show you, but they will have to wait till next time...
I am a passionate gardener and seed-saver, who also enjoys playing the violin and accordion, running, spending time with my 4 golden retrievers, keeping chickens, photography, and reading.