This seedling is good to see. After last year’s flowering and fruit production, we are not surprised to see a seedling of Castenea dentata growing below the blighted parents. One of the parent trees of this youthful and vigorous seedling arrived this spring as a ghost, a multi-branched silhouette of what it once was. The Chestnut blight had destroyed the tree. Its roots were able to push out more sprouts and the being itself is still alive.
For the time being this seedling is completely healthy, and may remain so for a few years to come. It is good that the American Chestnut trees in Morris Park are still functioning reproductively; they flower, fruit and drop seed. The seed is viable and is sprouting.
This section of Morris Park has for the most part, been left undisturbed. Enough so that the Chestnut trees are still intact. Many advancing introduced and invasive species are now growing amidst the Chestnuts. Ailanthus altissima, The Tree of heaven, Aralia elata, the Japanese Angelica Tree are within a few feet of this seedling. If we are not here to control these invasives, what will this forest be like in 20 years? These invasive trees are aggressive invaders. Mature specimens throw out thousands of seeds every year, all the while sending out a vast, dense network of suckering roots that cover large areas of forest. The resulting trees crowd out the natives and create dense shade.
There was a dense cluster of the invasive exotic Japanese Angelica tree growing in the exact spot of this Chestnut seedling. Early this year, an effort was made to control this invasive tree and there was a resulting change in the light conditions on the ground. Perhaps the sprouting and growth of this seedling can be attributed to the changed conditions of light in the area?
This Lobelia cardinalis was a pleasant surprise. We had planted it in various places in the yard where it would last a year or two, producing seed and great flowers only to disappear. Now it’s reappearing in a place we did not expect. Now we have to walk over it as it is growing so close to the brick walkway it is covering it.
This flower is so red it cannot be matched and a picture does not fully show off the deep red color. In the shade, this flower glows and the red color is magnificent.
This is the Hibiscus mosheutos, ready to open. The flower is six inches in diameter. This one likes its feet wet as well as a sunny location. After a flowerless season in the shady front yard, Isabelle had the idea to place it in the sunny backyard next to the drainpipe. Now it is flowering.
Each flower lasts only two days, but the plant produces so many flowers that there are plenty to appreciate on any given day.
The bees love this flower and were cycling around it every few seconds making a photograph possible.
Here are two blooming Hibiscus moscheutos flowers with ones on the way in the middle. The lower one has already bloomed and is on its way to producing seed, the flower having fallen off.
This native honeysuckle is a flower factory. It has been cranking out flowers all summer. The Hummingbirds have been visiting this flower all day every day. Strategically planted right outside the window, we can watch the hummingbirds from the comfort of the couch. The Hummingbirds rough up the flowers which fall off often. Our summer mornings are not complete without coffee, Lonicera sempervirens and Hummingbirds. The red Lobelia is also attracting the hummingbirds, which is growing at the foot of the honeysuckle vine.
If the word weed in the common name Joe-pye-weed is discouraging to you in your plant selection process and this great flower is passed by, you are missing out. We have two Joe-pye weeds, Eupatorium purporeum and Eupatorium fistulosum for starters. This is a stately and entertaining plant and does not behave like a weed at all. Bees love it, as the above picture shows, and it has an ornamental value. It is versatile and drought tolerant. The leaves have a soft inviting texture and the flowers have subtle tones of pink that look great against the backdrop of summer green.
So the three tomato plants are now producing fruit. We have not been watering them regularly. Its been hot and dry for the most part. The tomatoes taste so good. A garden grown tomato cannot be matched. This is great, since we have been too busy to dote over the garden, and yet it is doing very well this year.
Our cucumber patch consists of one plant. Does anybody want a cucumber? For us its cucumber salad with a few slices of tomato with a little olive oil, pepper and balsamic vinegar. And for lunch its Rye bread with a bit of olive oil, cucumber slices and some freshly ground pepper. Anymore said will put us at risk of becoming a foodie blog at this point. We are not gardeners or foodies, but we feel strongly feel that if you can grow your own food when you can or if you can, go for it and to not miss this important part of living on this earth.
Of course, most of the property is devoted to native sun loving wildflowers. Someday more vegetables may be grown, as we build up the raised beds and continue to improve the place.
A kind friend of ours gave us root segments of the native Wild Bergomat and the Tall Coneflower a few years ago, which have taken off and have created a beautiful setting for our vegetable garden.
This is our green bean patch. For some reason, most of the bean seeds we planted did not grow. However, the 5 plants that did grow have provided us with a massive amount of beans! We have been chopping them up with onions and garlic and sauteeing them. Also just eating them right off the plant on site is very enjoyable.
The bricks that line these raised beds come with a heavy heart. They were at one time the building blocks of once majestic buildings in the neighborhood that we would rather have standing today. However the economic situation in the city of Philadelphia in the past 50 years has blighted sections of the neighborhood and has led to the demolition of some once grand Victorian-era homes.