Thursday, August 25, 2011

Harvesting seed.

You are looking at the first seed collected this year from the Canada hawkweed (Heiracuim canadense). The dark part is the seed, the fluff is to carry the seed on the wind if it isn't harvested soon enough. I will be checking daily for the next few weeks as the flowers bloom then go to seed individually.

On the canada hawkweed a seedhead is ready to collect. You can see it has turned fluffy and sort of light tan. The flowers are yellow they close , the seed forms and the seedhead opens and dries then flies with the wind. Except I'll be there to pinch off and save. Comes loose very easily.

Collected a few white baptisia seed pods. Took 4 years for these to flower and produce seed.

A closer look at the seeds inside the pod.

Leiberg's panic grass/Dichanthelium leibergii . Will soon be able to harvest a few seeds from the panic grass if I can keep the birds away. Nice to have found a plant that produces seed the first year, even if it is just a little.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Elementary School Rain Garden

This is a rain garden at a local school. I came across it while riding through the area on a bicycle. It was after regular school hours and only a few staff members were around that didn't seem to know much about the garden. It seems a storm water runoff area has been dug out similar to those in some neighborhood parks but instead of mowing it is being allowed to grow out. There are several wetland loving plants that look like may have been seeded in but otherwise is being left alone. Out of curiosity I will make some calls to see what maintenance is planned. A fall or spring mowing maybe?

You can see plenty of swamp milkweed. A few monarches flew out where ever I came close and a dragonfly pair kept passing by chasing one another about.

Cattails flourished and may have self seeded as they are common in low wet spots.

A ribbon of rocks simulating a streams flow makes its way through the garden.

Helenium /sneezeweed is abundant and just beginning to bloom. I would not have thought of helenium as a good rain water plant but it seems to thrive.

Many honey bees were active on the blooms. I will have to go back a few times and see what other bees are utilizing the garden.

A skipper was another butterfly making use of all the blossoms.

Big black wasps and these more colorful brothers were attracted to the feast as were many flies.

It was a pollinator haven...

In the forefront of this picture are a few not yet blooming forbs that are probably a goldenrod
with a late summer/fall bloom.

A closer look at the helenium. Did you notice the lack of grasses? I wonder if that is deliberate.

The white flowering plant will need another look. Care to make a guess?

Way to many young tree seedlings growing. Are there plans to remove them? A spring burn seems unlikely so just a mow down? Hopefully this is on the agenda.

What ever the plans for this remarkable garden, kudos are due to the administrators bold move to make a try at this storm water management that is such a great habitat.