20 June 2009

not in my bouquet - 1

The Tulip tree (Liriodenron tulipifera) towering at the south end is in full bloom.  Usually this goes unnoticed even though the flowers are large and plentiful as they are a foliage matching shade of green - the orange flashes on the reverse make them no more noticeable.  The strong winds this week have brought some of the flowers down to ground level.  Interesting as they are I can't say they excite me.  Its autumn butter-yellow display does.
This tree has grown enormous in the 25years since planting but it is not particularly happy here.  The leaves show clear signs of nutrient deficiency with dark veins and pale areas.  Hopefully the soil improvements taking place beneath will help with the problem  

This odd bloom is on one of the Pitcher plants (Sarracenia hybrids) growing in one of the ponds - another interesting but not inspiring flower.  These are carnivorous plants and have adapted leaves like upright trumpets that trap insects.  Insects are attracted into the leaves interior only to be unable to escape up the slippery waxy walls.  Downwards pointing hairs guide them further into the leaf where they drown and are digested in a small pool of enzyme rich liquid.  Like all carnivorous plants they are adapted to grow in nutrient poor soils and gain additional nutrient from their catch.  They are hardy enough to grow out of doors but have struggled to make any headway in the hard water of the pond and, ironically, from constant attacks by insects.  It seems the Aphids will have their revenge.

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