Monday, August 12, 2013

A Riot of Wildflowers in Quiet August

One perk of spending August in Princeton is the late-summer bursting forth of native wildflowers. The most vivid example of this has traditionally been along the DR Canal towpath, particularly along the small nature trail loop just west of Harrison Street. But we've made some effort to "spread the wealth" around Mountain Lakes House, and also in Harrison Street Park and a few raingardens. Many of these plants can be obtained at plant sales at Bowman's Hill and DR Greenway. I've been meaning to get organized enough to do a literal "yard" sale now and then, because I have so many "volunteer" plants popping up. Always best to seek out local genotypes.

Here's what's blooming along the recreated creekbed in my backyard that handles (exploits) runoff streaming through from the neighbors:

Wild senna

Cutleaf coneflower (also called green-headed coneflower)

Jewelweed, with its pendant flowers and spring-loaded seed pods,

Purple-headed sneezeweed (doesn't make you sneeze)

Some tamed and wooly sunflower planted by my older daughter,

Among the red to blues, a leftover beebalm,

cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) with one of the Joe-Pye-Weed species in the background,

Great Lobelia (Lobelia syphilitica),

the trumpet section--rose-mallow hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos), which can also be white with a rose center,

purple coneflower,

blue mistflower (Conoclinium, formerly Eupatorium, coelestinum),

monkey flower, which keeps coming out white in photos,

and swamp milkweed.

White flowers are more common earlier in the summer, but here's a store-bought version of obedient plant (spreads aggressively in full sun but less aggressive in the shade),

sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), also called summersweet for its fragrance,

the remnant blooms of Culver's Root

and buttonbush,

and the pollinator plaza called boneset (Hibiscus in the background).

Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana)--with toothed leaves rather than the untoothed leaves of the Asian autumn clematis, and planted in a pot to prevent it from spreading underground--is also just opening up.

The seeds of soft rush (Juncas effusus) add subtle ornament,

along with sedges like this woolgrass (Scirpus cyperinus)

and green bulrush (Scirpus atrovirens), which sprouts new plantlets at the tips of its seedstalks.

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