Thursday, June 08, 2017

Using Flowers To Read a Landscape

Flowers, like fall colors, create a color-coded landscape that can provide a snapshot of trends in plant populations. Blooms have seemed especially abundant this spring, with native dogwoods and Rhododendrons laden with flowers, and now the elderberries, Korean dogwoods and catalpas showing profusion. Catalpas have a knack for sprouting along edges, then spreading their branches of elephant ear leaves (front right in photo), tubular flowers and long seed pods up and over everything else. The branches take interesting, gnarly shapes. When catalpas are in flower, it's easy to notice how they have gained dominance in that prime front-row seating along the edge of this clearing, on waste ground near the Princeton Shopping Center. The opening itself is being taken over by Chinese bushclover, which also tends towards exclusionary dominance.

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