Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Transplant

There is a patch between the curving drive and the yard, on the north side, where Rex's dogs used to reside. The dogs, Trixie and Elmo, passed away years ago. Last autumn, Betsy flew out of LaGuardia with a box of bulbs, roots, stolons, and rhizomes in her carry-on. She planted them here, among the old dog pens. This spring we sold the chain link pens to a woman tending goats, or was it pigs? 

As it turns out, this is a very prolific location, maybe the most fertile in the yard. The plants that grow here are a hodge podge of Lamium, Creeping Charlie, Jewelweed, Milkweed, Bellflower, Virginia Wetleaf, and smattering of Lambsquarters, clover, grasses, and other weeds. These surround the remaining dog house, one that is hard to part with because it was so lovingly crafted to resemble the human house it shared land with at Rex's old place.

This is the canopy of a single Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis.  I say canopy because it is built like a tree and is beginning to shade out the transplants.

Just look at the size of that stem, maybe three or four inches in circumference. To the right is a Maximilian sunflower, Helianthus maximiliani, carried to Brooklyn from southern New Mexico, and now to Minnesota. To the left is one of two Bleeding Hearts, Dicentra eximia, holding their own under the shade of the giant Jewelweed.

I'm happy to see what I know is an aster growing among the Milkweed, but I cannot tell if it is the weakly growing Anna Potschke or the more aggressive New York Aster. I'll take either, but would love to see Potschke do well here since it suffered so much in Brooklyn.

The Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, grows strong here and like common Milkweeds everywhere, it appears rather randomly wherever it prefers. I suppose that's what makes it a weed to the farmer or landscaper. I hope gardeners appreciate it. I've seen some spectacular specimens in yards here -they are quite sculptural, exerting considerable presence. We are planning on a wildflower meadow over the septic drain field and will likely transplant some of these to that location.

Each lily transported from Brooklyn have made this home. They are all doing quite well, as they had in Brooklyn (people's sticky or damaging fingers aside). I may miss the bloom, or part of it, as I will be away in New York City for a presentation in late July and then in Vermont for the first part of August teaching my course Landscape Into Art.

When I am there I will pot up some rather large specimens that could not be, nor should have been, crammed into a box. Roots trimmed, watered heartily, I will leave them for the week while I am in Vermont, and then, on my return to Brooklyn, pick them up for the return trip to Minnesota. I do not look forward to this drive, haven't for years now, but the plants, their care, and the stowaway creatures that will make the van a home for the trip will make it a more interesting ride.

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