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Sunday, October 31, 2010

10/31/10 BLACK LOCUST AND ROADSIDE ASPARAGUS

IT PROMISES TO BE A FINE DAY
ASPARAGUS GROWING WILD ALONG THE ROADSIDE
BLACK LOCUST LEAVES ARE STILL GREEN
COMPOUND LEAVES AND WICKED THORNS
A HANDSOME TREE, IT CAN GROW TO 75' IN HEIGHT

Sunday, 8:30 AM. 33 degrees, wind W, calm. Te sky is half overcast but clearing rapidly. Humidity is low and the barometer predicts sunny skies. It should be a fine day.
Black locust, Robinia pseudo-acacia, is another green-leaved standout as the leaves of other plants turn color and drop. Native to the mostly southern U.S., It was once much planted for timber and for durable fence posts (its wood is very rot resistant), but has fallen into disfavor because it is quite invasive, both by seed and by runners. It bears clusters of attractive white pea-like flowers in the spring. Mature trees are quite tall and handsome, and are very hardy north. The compound leaves have two small thorns at the base of the petiole that are quite vicious, and young trees can form an almost impenetrable bramble. It is a legume, and enriches the soil with nitrogen. So, take your pick; good plant or bad.
Asparagus growing in the wild is quite spectacular now, standing out like a beacon on paths and roadsides.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

10/30/10 SHARED EXPERTISE

AN UNSETTLED DAY
WISCONSIN INDIANHEAD TECHNICAL COLLEGE...A LANDSCAPE BLANK SLATE
WITC CAMPUS CONCEPTUAL LANDSCAPE MASTER PLAN

Saturday, 9:00 AM. 39 degrees, wind variable (SW to NE) and blustery. The sky is overcast except for a bright band on the southeastern horizon. The barometer is down, predicting partly cloudy skies. It is a very unsettled day.
I have just finished a project that I have worked on over the past several months; a conceptual master landscape plan for Wisconsin Indian Head Technical College in Ashland. It is a large campus and much in need of relevant landscaping, a veritable blank slate. The way I do a project like this is to develop long range plans for plantings and amenities, working with a committee or lead person from the institution. I find specific vantage points from which to analyze problems, opportunities and concepts, taking many photographs for reference. I develop ideas, and refine them through interaction with institutional representatives.
I am not a landscape architect or artist, and admittedly my drawing board work is pretty rough, but my plans and recommendations are practical and based on my rather unique experience in horticulture, plant ecology and facilities management, and I enjoy sharing my expertise where and when I can.

Friday, October 29, 2010

10/29/10 SMOKE

LAST VESTIGES OF THE STORM
"SMOKY" EVENING CLOUDS
'ROYAL PURPLE' SMOKETREE

Friday, 8:00 AM. 29 degrees, wind SW, calm. The sky is mostly clear except for some high, thin, fast moving stratospheric clouds, which I assume are the last remnants of the big storm. The sky late yesterday afternoon was filled with beautiful, smoky clouds.
I have posted photos of the American smoketree in fall leaf color recently. The smoketree pictured is a purple leafed variety, Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'. In general, I prefer the normal leaf coloration. Plants that have odd or off-season coloration can be difficult to use in the landscape, although they do have their place. However, they often clash with other elements of the landscape, or stand out too much.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

10/28/10 IT'S AN ILL WIND THAT DOESN'T DO SOME GOOD PRUNING

A WINDY, CHANGEABLE DAY
WIND: NATURES PRUNING SHEARS
BUCKTHORN LEAVES ARE STILL GREEN
JIG'SAW PUZZLE SEEDS
DON'T EAT THE BERRIES!

9:00 AM. 37 degrees, wind W, strong. The cloud cover is very changeable. There is another .3” of rain in the gage. The barometer is up, predicting clear weather.
This has been a long period of sustained high winds, which have done a good job of pruning deadwood in the woods, and felling dead trees.
The invasive common buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica, is quite evident now in the landscape, as its leaves are still green and the clusters of blue-black berries on female plants quite obvious. Its bark is very similar to young birches and cherries, but the late and early season green leaves, berries and thorns easily set it apart. The berries look like cherries, but instead of one seed have three or more, each flattened on one side so they fit together like a jig-saw puzzle. Don’t taste the berries, for as the specific name indicates they are a strong purgative.
Early and late green leaves are a fairly good indicator of non-native, or out-of-range plants, although not definitive, as many Asiatic plants also have colorful fall leaves.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10/27/10 A BAD SPELL OF WETHER

THE STORM BRINGS MIXED RAIN AND SNOW
WAVES CRASH ON THE BREAKWATER
SURF AT REITEN BEACH
IN FOR A SWIM
TOUGH GOING

Wednesday, 8:15 AM. 34 degrees, wind now SW, still very strong but subsiding. The wind howled loudly all night and the rain clattered on the skylights, rendering sleep fitful. The driving rain is mixed with snow now. There is another 1.5” in the gage but the barometer is rising.
Late yesterday afternoon the wind was so fierce that I was compelled to go down to the lakefront and watch the waves. The surf pounded on the break wall but vehicles were still lined up waiting for the ferry. I don’t know if the ferry continued to run, but it is seldom canceled. I went to the marina where most boats are now out of the water on stands but I didn’t stay long, as they looked like they might be blown over like dominoes. At Rieten Park the surf was high and crashing on the beach as a swimmer in wet suit, fins and scuba mask entered the water. I recognized him as an acquaintance who swims every day. He made his way out a hundred yards or so and then swam parallel to the beach. The currents are strong a short way out from there, even in good weather, and I imagine there was also a very strong undertow. I didn’t stay to watch his further progress, and I hope I wasn’t witnessing a statistic in the making.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10/26/10 THE NOR'EASTER CONTNUES

THE THIRD MORNING
STRAIGHT OUT OF THE NORTHEAST

Tuesday, 8:00 AM. 54 degrees, wind NE, blustery. The sky is heavily overcast, the barometer is down, and it rained another .5” last night. Yesterday proved a bit of a lull in the storm but it appears that it will be a traditional Nor’easter and last at least three days.

Monday, October 25, 2010

10/25/10 GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER?

MORNING AFTER THE STORM
GREEN AND GOLD
SILVER MAPLE

Monday, 7:30 AM. 49 degrees, wind NE, calm. The barometer predicts more rain and there is fog over the Islands, but the weather seems to be improving. It is quiet after the storm, which left 1.3” of badly needed rain in the gage.
The tamarack in the back yard is now golden-yellow, and contrasts nicely with the dark green cedars.
The silver maple (Acer saccharinum), is a weak-wooded tree with few good ornamental attributes, but like that ne’r-do-well shirttail relation who comes to Thanksgiving dinner and is entertaining for a short while, the silver maple retains its charming yellow leaves long after its relatives have lost theirs.
The “bad” weather has been a blessing, as it is allowing me to catch up on office work and reading, and to rest my weary old bones. We have a Tree Board meeting this afternoon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

10/24/10 NOT ENOUGH SENSE TO GET IN OUT OF THE RAIN

'NOREASTER
A DIE HARD FISHERMAN (OR ALREADY DECEASED?)

ST. FRANCIS CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE REZ
START OF THE NEW CASINO

Sunday, 10:00 AM. 48.5 degrees, wind NE, light to moderate. The sky is completely overcast, there is fog over the Islands and the barometer predicts rain. This is a pretty classic ‘Noreaster.
We left for the beach this morning as a fine mist was falling. By the time we got there it had turned to a cold, pelting rain, but we didn’t have enough sense to get in out of it. I made a few uncontrollable casts at the mouth of the Sioux while Lucky watched qizzicaly. There was a diehard fisherman on the opposite bank. We left him to his fate and came home soaked, and started a blazing fire to warm up.
Highway 13 through Red Cliff has been torn up for months but is at last finished and is considerably improved, especially for pedestrians, and the start of the new casino can now be observed. It will have a beautiful setting on Buffalo Bay. We wish the tribe success, as an economically healthy Rez is essential to Bayfield (our two communities are, as they say, “joined at the hip.”)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

10/23/10 TREE WORK AND A PHOTO EXHIBIT

FELLING
CHIPPING
CHAINSAWING

GRANDON HARRIS, PHOTOGRAPHER
BIG WATER CAFE

Saturday, 7:00 AM. 47 degrees, wind NE, strong enough to blow the hat off my head. The sky is dark and overcast and the barometer is down, predicting rain. Looks like we may get a ‘Noreaster.
Our tree job went well but still has some work to do on Monday or when weather permits. The objective was to thin out a small grove of aspen (Populous tremuloides) which had become overgrown. Aspens and other poplars are pretty but very weak wooded, short lived and prone to disease. They need to be controlled so they do not become a problem in the landscape.
Local photographer Grandon Harris’ exhibition opened with a reception yesterday evening at the Big Water CafĂ©, which was very well attended. Grandon’s exhibition photos are primarily of Bayfield scenes and people, but he has photographed extensively throughout the country. Grandon and wife Dot are very active volunteers, and he is a valued member of the Tree Board as well.

Friday, October 22, 2010

10/22/10 ...'ROUND THE MULBERRY TREE, EARLY IN THE MORNING

A CLEAR, CRISP MORNING
THE MULBERRY TREE HOLDING ITS YELLOW-GREEN LEAVES
NATIVE, INTRODUCED, OR HYBRID?

Friday, 8:00 AM. 35 degrees, wind W, calm. It is a cloudless, crisp morning and the barometer predicts more of the same at least for today.
The mulberry tree across the street is holding onto its yellow-green leaves. I have been unable to determine whether it is the native or introduced mulberry or perhaps a hybrid, which may well be the case. I am still doing some work, and we have a tree removal project this morning.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10/21/10 A WELCOME SHOWER AND BILLOWING CLOUDS

FASCINATING CLOUDS
ROIILING...
MULTICOLORED
TAMARACK IS TURNING GOLDEN
THE ALAMANDA FLOWER HAS BEEN RESCUED AND PUT IN A BUD VASE

Thursday, 8:00 AM. 38 degrees, wind W, variable. The sky is partly cloudy but has cleared considerably. The barometer predicts mixed clouds and sunshine. We had a brief shower yesterday evening and to my surprise it left .25” of rain in the gage. Not enough but welcome nonetheless.
I was fascinated by the roiling, billowy, multicolored clouds this morning. The photos do not catch their true aura.
The tamaracks in the yard have begun to turn golden. They are more than a week behind those we saw on our trip to Rhinelander.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

10/20/10 DON'T BE A NEATNIK!

A BLUSTERY MORNNG
LET FALLEN LEAVES COLLECT AROUND PLANTNGS
BIRCH TREES NEED THEIR ROOTS KEPT COOL AND MOIST

Wednesday, 6:45 AM. It is still pitch dark. 48 degrees, wind W, blustery. The sky is mostly cloudy, the barometer again predicts rain, but the humidity is only 33%. The last significant rainfall was .25” on September 25. We are n a considerable drought again and it is a good thing most plants have gone dormant. Now is the time to water evergreens and new plantings if we do not get significant rainfall within a few days.
I mulched the fallen leaves in the yard yesterday with the lawn mower. As dry as they were they disintegrated nicely. I may have to run the mower over the yard once more before freeze-up but little raking, much less hauling or bagging, will be necessary. Trees and shrubs are also mulched in the process as the leaves collect around them, conserving moisture and preventing frost heaving during the winter. Being overly neat in fall leaf and garden cleanup is not a good thing and is certainly unnecessary work. It is easy to do a little additional raking in the spring.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10/19/10 NO FROST, NO RAIN, BUT STILL COLORFUL

SOFT DAWN
BEACH PEA
EARLY LIGHT
STILL COLORFUL

Tuesday, 8:00 AM. 43 degrees, wind W, ligHt. The sky is overcast with high gray clouds. The barometer predicts rain, but at 31% humidity it won’t.
The plants are all in off the decks, but temperatures are moderate. The colors are still vivid in town. Many things continue to bloom, as do this beach pea and the Alamanda vine (which needs to come in).