six on Saturday, 3 December 2022

1. Leading up to this Saturday, climate chaos was the primary thing going on here in Blount County, Alabama. The high temperatures during November have ranged from the 80s to the 40s F. There have been very dry periods and very wet ones; on Tuesday evening 7 inches of rain fell in the area as powerful storms came through the State. I spent a short time in my “safe place” as a tornado warning swept through southeast Blount County at 1 a.m. Wednesday, but I woke later to crisp sunshine and no damage except scattered small tree branches and overturned lawn furniture.

2. There have been other beautiful mornings, too. Even though the trees have given up most of their leaves, a couple of the Japanese maples held on longer to offer a few nice sunrises.

3. Because of their vibrant red autumn display, I allow a limited number of burning bushes (Euonymous alatus) to grow in the garden. The one on the left below, which I guess we could call the mother tree because I intentionally planted this one over 25 years ago, serves as a backdrop for the bird feeder outside my window. This tufted titmouse politely posed with a peanut for the photo rather quickly flying off as they, and the chickadees, and the wrens usually do. (The cardinals are big and bossy enough that they take their time and eat right at the feeder.)

The bush on the right above was most likely planted by one of those birds. Euonymous alatus, also known as winged spindle or winged euonymous, is considered invasive in some areas of the US, so I routinely pull them up when I see them sprouting.

4. Even more invasive is nandina (Nandina domestica)–in addition, it is even more dramatically red in the fall. The leaves eventually turn maroon, but they remain green long enough to create a seasonal show next to their bright berries.

Soon I will snip off all of those clusters of berries, bag them up, and discard them. They will germinate just about anywhere they fall, roll, or bounce; moreover, they are toxic to all animals–especially small pets and birds. So, while I do allow a few of these to grow for decorative purposes, I try to keep them tightly trimmed, and when I do find them taking root, I pull them up as well.

5. The plants above, of course, are non-natives, but the next, fothergilla, is an eastern US native and a plant I have long admired for its fall colors of yellow to orange to red. Planted two years ago, this is the first year these baby shrubs have been big enough to sport some attractive leaves. As you can see from the first photo below, the leaves suffered from this summer’s periods of drought. The newer leaves, however, are great examples of what I hope my little gathering of fothergilla plants will grow into. A pass along gift of fellow garden blogger “pruneplantsow,” these sprouts celebrate the generosity of gardeners.

6. The next is not only native to North America, it is common in the area–the white pine (Pinus strobus), or Eastern white pine. I’m including it among my six because after the storms this week I found more white pine cones then I remember ever seeing around the garden. Even in the wooded portion of the garden I don’t have any white pines. I have loblolly pines, shortleaf pines, and Virginia pines, but no white pines. The cones are distinctive and really quite elegant. Eventually I found the source in my neighbor’s yard, a tree blown bare of all but a few cones.

I began with a storm and I’ll end with this aftermath of the storm–and the promise of more rain in the offing. Readers can find guidelines for joining in on these Saturday postings at the site of The Propagator who initiated this sharing. Also look for links for great garden photos and information from folks around the globe at our current moderator Jim Stephen’s garden ruminations.

11 Replies to “six on Saturday, 3 December 2022”

      1. I confess to to having pulled them up in our State Park, Palisades, in Blount County. I don’t know how the seeds get there, but I do know they are not planted there on purpose.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s somewhat surprising that Nandina and Euonymus threaten to become invasive with you but as far as I know rarely if ever self sow over here. I wonder what the difference is, do ours not set viable seed, does it not germinate, do the seedlings get eaten? Someone will know, I don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eastern white pine! It is the State Tree and State Flower of Maine! I have encountered only cultivars here, and only very rarely. Western white pine lives to the North, but barely resembles Eastern white pine cultivars, which are quite compact.

    Liked by 1 person

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