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Thursday, June 22, 2017

MOCCASIN FLOWER AND WINTERGREEN





MOCCASIN FLOWER, A NATIVE ORCHID
WINTERGREEN: AROMATIC EVERGREEN LEAVES AND EDIBLE RED BERRY.

Thursday, 8:30 AM.  66 degrees F at the ferry dock, 62 on the back porch.  Wind WNW, mostly calm with very light gusts.  The sky is overcast, the humidity 79%.  The barometer is steady, at 29.65".  Mixed skies, highs in the mid-sixties to seventy with chances of rain are predicted for the next ten days.
 The moccasin flower, Cyprepedium acaule, in the Lily Family, is an orchid native to much of Canada and most of the eastern half of the U S.  Its habitat is boreal and deciduous forest floors and edges.  This is one of several found near the Onion River parking area.
  Moccasin flower is not truly rare or endangered, but it  is not common, and a real treat to see in bloom.   The greatest threat to this orchid is gardeners digging it up to transplant in their gardens, a process the plants seldom survive.  Unless their habitat is in immediate danger of being completely destroyed, they and most other wild plants should be left alone and in place.  The plant has two stemless basal leaves (acaule, Latin, without a stem), with strong parallel venation.  It is pollinated by bees which are attracted by its fragrance.  Like other orchids, Cyprepedium relies on a symbiosis with a soil fungus to germinate seeds and  complete its life cycle.
   Wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens, in the Heath Family (Ericaceae) is growing in association with the moccasin flower.  It is also known as teaberry, as the dried leaves and stems make a good tea. The berries are also edible and are eaten by birds, and the plant is good winter browse for whitetail deer. It is native under oaks and conifers in northeastern North America and the Appalachian Mountains.
   A number of other wildflowers, no longer flowering, were also present.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

HARRISON'SYELLOWROSE, "THE YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS"





HARRISON'S YELLOW ROSE, DOWNTOWN BAYFIELD, HWY.13...
HARRISON'S YELLOW ROSE, CORNER OF 6TH AND WILSON...



..."THE YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS"


Wednesday, 8:00 AM.  57 degrees F at the ferry dock, 56 on the back porch,  Wind variable, calm.  The sky is clear, the humidity 84%.  The barometer is taking a nosedive, now at 29.93".  Today will have highs around 60, tomorrow in the mid-seventies.  It will then cool off considerably, with mixed skies, and a chance of rain on Saturday.
   Everything that hasn't bloomed earlier is blooming now and it is hard to keep up with it all, but we will try to do so in subsequent posts.
   There is a large rose bush on the corner of 6th and Wilson that I am quite certain is the old fashioned “Harrison’s Yellow Rose,” which has been grown for almost two centuries and is still available. There are a number of these venerable old roses blooming around Bayfield.  It is only a spring bloomer, but when in flower is covered with semi-double, fragrant flowers. It is thorny and spreads, so must be used with caution, but is a worthwhile plant in a sunny location (mine has succumbed to heavy shade). This is the rose that was carried across the country by settlers moving west, and has thus become also known also as “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” and "The Oregon Trail Rose." It was a chance hybrid occurring around 1830 in the garden of a Mr. Harrison of New York City. It was grown and marketed by Prince's Nursery on Long Island.
   The song, “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” is thus associated with this rose. The “Yellow Rose” of the song, however, was a young mulatto (hence the "yellow") woman. Named either Molly Morgan or Emily Wade, she is credited in folklore as a heroine of the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, in which the Texas militia under Sam Houston destroyed the Mexican army of the tyrant Santa Anna, with virtually no Texas casualties, thus attaining Texas independence from Mexico.
   Molly (or Emily) purportedly  seduced the Mexican general on the afternoon of the battle, facilitating the Texan surprise attack. Soon after the battle, the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (composer unknown) became popular and has remained so as a Texas folk song. In 1955 it was arranged and played by Mitch Miller and his orchestra and became a national hit song, even eclipsing Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock.”
   Texas became an independent republic in 1836, and voluntarily joined the Union in 1845. The legend and the song say a lot about Texas and Texans.  The Battle of San Jacinto was considered payback for the massacre at the Alamo, a visit to which cannot fail to stir an American's soul, as the battle was at the time a struggle for freedom from tyranny, a one-sided, obviously futile fight, which volunteers joined,  knowing they would surely die.  Iconic figures of American history did die there, among them Davey Crocket and Jim Bowie.

           
            THE YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS 
             (Mitch Miller rendition, 1955)
    1) There's a yellow rose in Texas, That I am going to see,
    Nobody else could miss her, Not half as much as me.
    She cried so when I left her It like to broke my heart,
    And if I ever find her, We nevermore will part.
    [Chorus]
    She's the sweetest little rosebud ;That Texas ever knew, Her eyes are bright as diamonds, They sparkle like the dew;You may talk about your Clementine, And sing of Rosalee, But the YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS Is the only girl for me.
    2) Where the Rio Grande is flowing, The starry skies are bright,
    She walks along the river In the quiet summer night:
    I know that she remembers, When we parted long ago,
    I promise to return again, And not to leave her so.
     [Chorus]
    3) Oh now I'm going to find her, For my heart is full of woe,
    And we'll sing the songs together, That we sung so long ago
    We'll play the banjo gaily, And we'll sing the songs of yore,
    And the Yellow Rose of Texas Shall be mine forevermore.
     [Chorus]
THE ALAMO, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (Google photo)
     
THE FLAG OF TEXAS

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

BUNCHBERRY IS BLOOMING

BUNCHBERRY, AKA DWARF CORNEL, FLOWER AND LEAVES...
...EDIBLE BERRIES RIPEN IN JULY.  NOTE THE VEINED, TOOTHLESS, OPPOSITE LEAVES

HUGE PATCH OF BUNCHBERRY ON BLOOM ROAD
Tuesday, 8:00 AM.  62 degrees F at the ferry dock, 58 on the back porch.  Wind WSW, light.  The humidity is 70%.  The sky is clearing and it should be a nice day.  The barometer is rising, now at 29.88". Mixed skies and highs in the mid-sixties to 70 degrees are predicted for the balance of the week, with chances of rain on the weekend.
   Bunchberry, AKA dwarf cornel, Cornus canadensis, in the Dogwood Family, is a circumpolar plant of damp coniferous forests. It is a woody sub-shrub that grows less than a foot tall and spreads by stolens into large mats.
   In the right habitat it makes a fine ground cover.  Its white flowers are much like the flowering dogwood of the South, but smaller, and  the edible red berries are very similar. Fall leaf color is purple to red.  Cornus species berries are edible; and one, Cornus mas, cornelean cherry, an Asiatic shrub, has berries very good for jams and jellies.
   There is a very large colony of bunchberry growing along a side road off of Highway K in Bayfield County.  This would be a good plant for more  nurseries to grow.
   This dwarf doogwood always reminds me of the wonderful flowering dogwood of the eastern and southern US, Cornus florida. It is almost a miniature of that beautiful tree.

Monday, June 19, 2017

HIGHBUSH CRANBERRY


LARGE HIGHBUSH CRANBERRY IN THE BACK YARD

... PANICLES OF COMPOUND FLOWERS... 

... PERSISTENT, EDIBLE FRUIT.  NOTE THE THREE-LOBED LEAVES
 Monday, 8:30 AM.  60 degrees F at the ferry dock, 57 on the back porch.  Wind ESE, moderately breezy.  The sky is overcast with some clouds, the humidity 87%.  The barometer is steady at present, at 29.77".  The week head is predicted to be on the cool side with highs in the mid-60's, with mixed skies and weather.
  The highbush cranberry, Viburnum americanum (AKA trilobum) is not a cranberry at all, but a member of the Honeysuckle Family (Caprifoliaceae). The true cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, is a member of the Heath Family (Ericaceae), and is a resident of acid bogs in northern North America. 
The common name refers to the similarities in appearance of the shrub and it's berries to true cranberries, and the respective hight of the two shrubs,  The name cranberry of course refers to  the fact that cranes inhabit marshes and may eat the berries.
   To make nomenclature even more confusing, many authorities consider highbush cranberry a variety of the Eurasian species, and have named it Viburnum opulous var. americanum.  It is a visually ubiquitous species in the northern native landscape when in bloom, and once one recognizes it, one will see it everywhere, on woods edges, in the woods understory, roadsides, etc.  The clusters of red fruit also stand out, particularly in the winter landscape.
   Highbush cranberry is a large shrub native to much of southern Canada, New England and the Lake States.  The compound flowers are large, with an outer ring of showy white,  sterile ray flowers.  The misnamed "cranberry" fruits ripen deep cherry red in October and can remain on the shrub all winter, until the next spring's flowers appear.  The berries are edible but very astringent, thus the "cranberry" description.  Although too tart to eat out of hand, they are excellent in preserves.  They also provide  late winter food for birds. Cranberries and their juice are important in herbal and standard medicine for the treatment of urinary tract infections, due to their high acidity.
   Highbush cranberry, also called American cranberry, is an excellent shrub for landscape use, particularly in the larger yard and for naturalizing.  It does not spread as aggressively as many shrubs, has excellent floral interest and fall leaf color, and abundant, highly decorative fruit that attracts birds in late winter.
   My reeorded blooming dates for highbush cranberry are: 6/12/15; 6/12/15; 6/29/14; 5/26/12.

 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

BAYFIELD EMERGENCY SERVICES OPEN HOUSE

ALL TERRAIN VEHICLE

SEVERAL PUMPERS
AMBULNCE
DITTO

FIRE HALL AND GARAGE
Sunday, 9:00 AM.  61 degrees F at the ferry dock, 58 on the back porch.  Wind NNE, breezy with stronger gusts.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, the humidity 91%.  It is raining again after better than a half inch fell last night, and it looks like it will be a drippy day.  The barometer is beginning to rise, but the week ahead is predicted to have mixed skies with chances of rain, and high temperatures in the mid-60's.  A cool and damp spring is turning into a cool and damp early summer, which has pretty much guaranteed the success of the big rock garden job we planted a month ago.
   Yesterday we attended the annual Bafield Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service open house. We took a close look at all the equipment, which was polished to perfection, talked with volunteer firemen and EMTs, and ate gourmet firehouse food prepared by, who else, the firemen.
   Bayfield's firemen and EMTs are an all volunteer force, highly trained and on call 24/7.
They raise money to supplement the city equipment budget with an annual raffle and other events.  Area fire departments and ambulance services cooperate in combating major fires and in other emergencies, and and a helicopter service is on call for emergency flights to Duluth hospitals.
   We have lived in communities with both paid and volunteer emergency services, and find them about equal in effectiveness.  It is becoming more and more difficult to maintain volunteer services  because of declining rural and small town populations, and one way to compensate for that factor is for communities to pay a standby and per-emergency stipend, which helps young people with seasonal or low income regular jobs to stay in the community, and is still far less of a tax burden than hiring full time personnel.
   The city of Ashland has a large enough population to support full time emergency services, but surrounding communities and the Indian reservations must rely on volunteers.
  A not-so-subtle threat to volunteerism in general is over-the-top licensing and education requirements by state and federal agencies that can make it nearly impossible to recruit and train volunteers.  I am told that volunteer or deputized citizen help is no longer possible for small police departments for exactly that reason.
   The perfect should never become the enemy of the good.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

LUPINES

LUPINES ON HWY. J...
...DISPLAY THEIR FULL COLOR PALETTE...

....DITTO

Saturday, 8:30 AM.  61 degrees F at the ferry dock, 61 on the back porch.  Wind variable and calm, the humidity 87%.  The sky is cloud covered and overcast, but the sun is knocking at the door.  The barometer has bottomed out, at 29.57" and steady.  The weather for the week ahead is predicted to be cool (highs around 60) and rainy.
   The continuing road construction on Hwy 12 south of Bayfield necessitates a long detour on Hwy. J, but presents an opportunity to see some exceptional patches of lupines, which should be blooming for several more weeks, thanks to the cool, damp weather ahead.
  Lupines do not keep in a vase worth a darn, so they are best left to bloom undisturbed, and for others to enjoy as well.

Friday, June 16, 2017

GIRDLING ROOTS

A GIRDLING ROOT...

ABOUT FIVE FIVE FEET FROM THE TRUNK...

OF THIS FIFTEEN YEAR OLD 'AUTUMN BLAZE' MAPLE...

...A HYBRID MAPLE NOTED FOR ITS FALL COLOR
Friday, 8:00 AM.  60 degrees F at the ferry dock and on the back porch.  Wind SW, calm with very light gusts.  The sky is clear with some haze, the humidity 88%.  The barometer is falling gently, predicting a rainy weekend.  High temperatures today will be in the mid seventies, then will drop to highs in the low sixties for the weekend. The prediction for next week is for cool temperatures, with mixed skies and chances of rain.
   Girdling roots can occur on any plant, and can be very damaging depending upon their location.  They are the result of a lateral root or roots "taking a wrong turn" and wrapping around another root or a portion of the trunk or stem of the plant.  The diversion from lateral is most often caused by being kept in a pot too long, or some injury, or perhaps hitting a rock or other obstruction.
   Roughing up the twisted roots of a plant that has been kept in a pot too long,  or scarring them with a sharp knife, is a typical procedure when planting or transplanting everything from annuals to large trees, and the prevention of girdling roots is the main reason for removing wire baskets from large trees when they come from the nursery.
   Girdling roots can greatly damage or even kill trees, sometimes years after transplanting.  In this case the girdling root will probably not really damage the tree, but its strangling effect on the larger root is quite obvious, and it is a good example of the problem.  If this girdling root were in a spot where I considered it might be really harmful I would remove it with a hammer and sharp chisel.  If left too long, a girdling root will graft to its victim and be impossible to remove without doing damage.