Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Sassy Saturday

The weather today was windy and cold to say the least! I didn't work today but I'm sure Larry, Janice, Jerry and the volunteers all had a productive day. I spent the day in Richland Center which is about 2 hours northwest of Janesville. I was helping some friends lay out some windbreaks and other trees on their rural property. The topography in that part of Wisconsin is spectacular with rolling hills and limestone outcroppings. Their land sloped down to a woodland hugging a stream. I took this picture of Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) that was among many wildflowers. I was happy to see the lack of garlic mustard and European buckthorn (at least not yet) in their woods. They have some other issues to deal with but overall, have a beautiful property. Interestingly enought, the seeds of Dutchman's breeches are spread by ants that will take the seed (assuming it food) to their "nests", where they later germinate. This plant was used by Native Americans to treat syphilis as well. I always wondered how the herbal uses of plants are determined? Trial and error could be (and probably was) fatal in some instances I'm sure.

A neat plant that I photographed yesterday is this fumewort (Corydalis solida). In the poppy family and under 10" tall, this plant is planted as a tuber in the fall. They like well-drained soil in part sun and obviously bloom early. The foliage is very similar to the Dutchman's breeches seen above. The dainty purple/violet flower is beautiful above the lacy foliage. This is another example of reaping the rewards of fall work. Not sure how long this will live as it can be fussy but we'll enjoy it while we can. Summer teaser below of our All-American Selection garden last summer.

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