The stem structure of Hairy Angelica (Angelica venenosa) with its compound umbels of multiple rays ending in secondary umbels of small five-petaled flowers just seemed perfect for the featured photo for Six on Saturday, the 4th of July–a little plant fireworks for everyone. I wrote about this native last June, but I find several more plants growing in the wooded area this year, and for the first time one of them is nearly six feet tall. Because it is a native, and very much a favorite of bees, butterflies, and all sorts of small insects, Alabama plant sites recommend it over the non-native Queen Anne’s Lace. It is, however, poisonous. On that note, I’ll end this first entry for the week.
2. For my second entry I want to reprise an entry from two weeks ago. I reported that some dahlias I had given up on were the promising to bloom. And, at least one has. I look forward to seeing which others will flower in a few weeks. Notice that this plant has a bud developing in the upper center of the photo.
3. I also recently mentioned the daylily Hemerocallis fulva below. I’ve included it again today to celebrate just how impressive this common “ditch lily” can be.
4. Hibiscus syriacus, or Althea, or Rose of Sharon, is next–and it is blooming in a variety of colors around the house and down the hill to the lake. It is not a native, coming from south-central and southeast China, but it has certainly made itself at home in the Southeast US. I have several shrubs 15 feet high, and one grouping nearly twice as high.
I can’t leave photos of Althea without including one with a bumble bee. Unfortunately, as I took this photo after a rain earlier this week I also found a Japanese beetle enjoying the flowers. I’ll keep a far less appreciative eye on that creature’s family and friends in the coming weeks. I’ll also be on rose patrol.
5. The Limelight hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’) cuttings I took and rooted last year are coming along nicely. Well, two of them are doing well. There is another that is still in a small pot because I can’t decide where to transplant it. All in all, I’m pleased with three of eight cuttings making it through their first year.
6. Finally, I the pear tree problem. This tree, possibly Pyrus communis, is beautiful in the spring. By this time of year, however, it becomes a squirrel buffet. Pears never get to maturity. They end up on the deck with bites taken out of them while they are still as hard and heavy as baseballs, but not nearly as big. This year the pears are so numerous that some limbs have been broken by their weight as pictured below. Also pictured is an example of the gnarled and erratic nature of the tree’s branching habit, which makes it very difficult to prune with a pole pruner.
In addition to the the mess from all of the bitten and cracked pears, and all the little squirrel crumbs taken over by the ants on the deck, the sound of those falling pears hitting the deck and the tin roof of the house can be quite disquieting in the middle of the night. Below are a before and an after pruning of the tree photo. While it did make the situation better, it did not stop the dropping pears or feasting squirrels.
And that ends my six for this week, but does not end the pear tree problem. Readers can connect with more successful problem solvers and gardens by going to the site of The Propagator. Guidelines for joining the Six on Saturday postings can also be found there. Visit gardens virtually and stay safe.