This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
A couple odd-ball plants and some good birdwatching
Of the dozen or so species in the Chloranthus genus, most hail from China, and two are in cultivation in Ann Arbor. Close inspection of their anatomy reveals flower parts in threes (not fours, and not fives). Ditto with the wild ginger (Asarum). Big deal, so what? They are now recognized as 'paleoherbs,' having branched off from their ancestors prior to the big split into monocots and dicots. Ah, the stuff you can read on the internet now, like: "Chloranthus-like plants were well established in Europe and North America during the Late Cretaceous and probably disappeared from these areas during the Tertiary or Quaternary as a result of changed climate conditions." Such a statement I could never have found in a library!
(Times up. It's C. x allenii, a garden hybrid between C. solida and C. bracteata from Russia. My reference says "the creamy pink-veined flowers (are) in a shade that appeals to some but repels others." But you can still have some if you want.)
And the birdwatching: The trails of Dolph Park are crawling with birdwatchers. And birds, too! Now's the time to get to know your migrating songbirds. At lunch today I could have reached out and grabbed a black-and-white warbler, a palm warbler, a black-throated blue warbler, a northern parula, a Nashville warbler and more. As it was explained to me, the temperature is so cool that insects are scarce and these birds are hungry, too starved to be skittish. Sounded like a reasonable explanation to me. Many more birds to come. This is prime-time.