Our publisher BRIT press has just launched a page where books can be purchased directly. As easy to use as the Amazon site which has increased the price to $26.24 plus $2.35 = $28.59. The price from Brit is $24.95 plus book rate shipping $2.50 = $27.95. Just click on Brit.org and click the tab Shop.
All is not what it seems. Each flower consists of 5 petals, 3 pointing downward and two outstretched forming an upper lip. Between these 5 petals emerges another tube, the end of which has gray-white dots which are the sex organs. As the flower opens, they are male first, then after the pollen is gone from the anthers, the same flower extends a tube with a fuzzy reddish knob on the end, that’s the female flower .. who knew?
The first photo is of the male flower with a tuft of white hairs. When they are pushed back, pollen is released. The second photo shows the female flower with a reddish style projecting from the end of the male flower. The style ends in a knob with a rough surface to receive pollen.
Two more talks last week — the Prince George MGs were so receptive — Kathy’s article appeared in the Richmond paper and they bought copies of our book before I started to talk! And more after .. On Friday, a large crowd (96) of Hanover MGs bought fewer copies, but were very receptive to the “Plants for Pollinators” talk
Photographed in January, Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea) retains its green leaves. The yellow flowers are one of the first plants to bloom in the spring, often colonies of them are seen in the swamps and marshes in early March. When the tall stems with flowers wither, the heart-shaped leaves remain as groundcover throughout most of the year.
Also known as Narrowleaf Sunflower by the narrow, strap-like leaves, generally less than ½ wide. Blooming August-October, the plant is covered with bright yellow flowers, achieving a bushy form. This perennial grows in swamps and other moist places, mostly near the coast in the southeastern counties of Virginia. With good conditions, the stems are over 6 feet tall – the height can be controlled by cutting the tops of the plant 12 inches or so in early spring. Flowering will occur, but the plant will be shorter.
This plant is featured on page 87 in “Wildflowers and Grasses of Virginia’s Coastal Plain”
Photographed in the Williamsburg Botanical Garden in January. The summer photo is by Jan Newton.
Clumps of tawny-orange grasses are seen all winter along the roadsides – Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus) usually indicates poor soil, growing in abandoned fields and disturbed, dry soil. It is easily confused with Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), which has bent bristles on each seed, while the bristles on the seeds of Broomsedge are straight. Both species grow together, and are labeled, in the Grass Garden.
At the Mid-Atlantic Horticulture Conference last week, several boxes of books were sold, I attended 10 classes in two days, and made a lot of good contacts for future presentations. The book was well received by everyone who had a close look at it
Broomsedge adds color to the winter landscape with clumps of reddish-orange stems and leaves, striking when sunlight catches the white, fuzzy seedheads. In the spring this perennial grass forms a stiff clump of light green stems 3 feet tall. Tufts of paired flowers are held against the stem by leafy bracts, opening in late fall. Attached to each seed is a straight bristle surrounded by silvery hairs, allowing distribution by the wind. Splitbeard Bluestem, A. ternarius, is similar a similar grass, but the flowers are obviously paired, each seed with a bent bristle, not straight.
This grass grows in open, sunny locations on dry soil, preferably loose, sandy, and moist sites such as abandoned fields, roadsides and clearings. While the primary native meadow grass in the northeast, the presence of Broomsedge often indicates poor soil, low in phosphorus, that has been overgrazed and nutrient-poor. Occurring in every county of Virginia, it is found throughout the eastern states, from Massachusetts to Ohio, Missouri and Kansas, south to Florida and Texas. Requiring low amounts of water, the grass can be used for residential landscaping and golf courses.
The Zabulon skipper is an eastern butterfly, which has been sighted in the Williamsburg area. Broomsedge is a nectar source and larval host for this butterfly and others. Small birds eat the seeds in winter when other food supplies are limited, and the grass provides cover for ground nesting birds such as quail and turkeys.