Six on Saturday – No Flo – September 22, 2018

Tuesday, the day the remnants of Hurricane Florence hit our part of the mid-Atlantic region I spent the morning on Poplar Island. Clouds in the photos below were all we got. Some rain was predicted but we didn’t get any until the afternoon and it was minimal. We are all so grateful we were not in Florence’s direct path.

My Six on Saturday starts with Poplar Island. Here’s the backstory.

Poplar Island was a 1140 acre, crescent shaped island in the Chesapeake Bay in 1847. It had a town called Valliant which included a school, a post office, a church, a sawmill, a general store and about 100 residents.  Erosion ate away at the island and by 1920 the last permanent resident had gone. By 1990 the island had been reduced to 5 acres.  In a joint project of the U.S. Army Corps and Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the island has been recreatedt using dredged materials from the Chesapeake Bay’s approach channels to Baltimore where there is a thriving port. Dredged materials from Baltimore harbor are not used because they are contaminated.  Poplar Island is now back to 1140 acres with an additional 575 acres planned. This is the Wikipedia link if you want more information.

  1. Our group from the St. Michaels Woman’s Club boarded a boat on Tilghman Island for the twenty minute ride to Poplar Island. We started the tour with a guide who gave us an introduction and then boarded the bus for an informational trip around the island. The garden pictured is maintained by Maryland Master Gardeners. The mosquitos were ferocious.

IMG_7324

2. Tours are free and this was my fifth trip over the last ten years. The island has changed dramatically since my original visit when the island was comprised of “cells” waiting to receive dredged materials. Now the island is lush with native plant material. One hundred and seventy-five species of birds use the island, but the biggest wildlife success is the terrapin hatchlings which have a 99% survival rate because there are no foxes or racoons on the island – yet. Typical terrapin hatchling survival rate is 10%. Some baby terrapins are fostered by selected school classes and the kids return to Poplar island for an emotional release of the turtle they named and raised. Eventually the island will be a wildlife refuge of half wetlands and half uplands and will be closed to the public.

IMG_7346

3. This view shows work on the projected additional 575 acres. Most of the island looked like this when I first visited.

IMG_7351

 

My final three photos are from my garden.

4. Hyacinth bean vines are still blooming but are also creating beautiful, glossy purple pods.

5. The butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) plant’s airborne seeds are flying.

IMG_7366

6. Six feet tall (even after a fourth of July cutting back to half), this aster is just coming into bloom. Another plant that someone gave me. I don’t know the name and when I googled tall asters none of those listed grew this tall. Another shorter aster hasn’t started blooming yet. It needs to hurry up.

IMG_7363

That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – Summer into Fall

Our six week drought ended with a week of rain. We were lucky because we didn’t get flooding like some other areas nearby. The parched soil drank in the water, and all the plants perked up. The grass could be seen getting greener by the hour.

1. The things blooming now in my garden remind me that fall is just around the corner. Colorful crepe myrtles adorn my yard and neighborhood. Mine are white, a deep pink and a smaller purple. I bought the white and purple, but the pink were plants that someone had put out for the trash. So I snagged them. I really love the exfoliating bark. The old bark reminds of the black snake skins I used to find in our barn back in Harford County on the Western shore.

IMG_6887

img_6885.jpg

2. A friend gave me a small cutting of a Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) that came from her father’s garden. I didn’t realize Rose of Sharon was in the Hibiscus family. This plant is tucked back in a shaded corner of the garden and would like more sun, but it’s where there was an available spot. The flowers are lovely. In my Google search several places noted that these could be used as container plants. I might try that and get this beauty into the sun.

IMG_6869

3. I am seeing some Japanese beetles, so I put a little dishwashing detergent in some water and flicked them into it to drown. The only reason I can think that this SunPatiens is looking so sick is that one day — when it was so hot — I poured the detergent water on that end of the window box. Won’t do that again! All the other plants look fine. What I really need to do is go to the garden center where I bought the bedding plants and see if I can replace the sick one.

IMG_6895

4. The hyacinth bean vines are just beginning to flower. The seeds were saved from plants a friend gave me. She passed away two years ago, but is remembered in my garden. The hose was put away later, but I forgot to go out for another photo. It seems there are always spots in my garden that make everyone know a real person, with a real life, lives here. I was inside making tomato sauce from tomatoes grown in my bed at the Community Garden.

I just realized looking at this photo that I have a replacement for the sick SunPatien mentioned in #3. It’s in a pot at the lower left of this picture. I now remember I had a couple left over from the flat I bought.

IMG_6865

5. The Limelight hydrangea has started to flower. And the Arabella clematis, which has been blooming since spring, is now weaving its way through to the other side of the lattice.

IMG_6871

6.  Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a milkweed native and mine are now setting seed pods. I haven’t seen any Monarch caterpillars, however. Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed as their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants, and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. Google tells me that Monarch butterfly populations have dropped more than 90% in the last twenty years because of a loss of host plants, so growing milkweed plants is very important for future of monarchs. I’m trying to do my bit. These plants don’t mind some drought once established, so I will plant some of the seeds when they are ready. I wouldn’t mind having a whole bed of these. They would be a nice complement in front of the yellow rudbeckia.

IMG_6877

That’s my six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.