Just when I thought I knew most of the trees that can grow around here, I find another I never knew existed. Meet euonymus carnosis!
I was picking stuff up at a distant nursery and saw what I thought was a dogwood that hadn’t lost its leaves yet at a point in our season when not one tree has any leaves. I was excited to have found a cultivar of dogwood with lasting fall foliage.
The deep maroons and reds shone in the mid-day sun and the foliage looked unmolested by insects and disease. It’s shape was crape myrtle-looking, perfectly proportioned and smallish.
I looked this tree up and found that the specimen I was looking at was fully mature, that it is native to Asia, and is extremely hardy (zone 4-7). It’s fragrant “forever” creamy white flowers feed honey bees, and birds eat it’s berries. I bought two, and will be happy to plant them in my yard if they don’t sell.
Leaves are gone now, and some trees look better undressed than clothed. The spectacular weather gives one hope through the working days as we get ready for spring by tucking in our little buddies in fresh wood chips, respacing them appropriately, and generally cleaning up. We drive back and forth all day, and these birches breathe fresh life into my soul on sunny days when I see them like this. I planted them ~35 years ago, no more than five feet tall and as thick as my pinky at the time.
Well-fed trees shed their bark from now through March, a wondrous feat of nature as the branch cambium and xylem adds another ring then the trunk does the same thing. They alternate back and forth yearly and it is this overlapping tissue that gives trees their strength. On birches it’s extremely important to properly feed them if the whiteness of the bark is what you are shooting for.
This is the size of our birch trees-$160 for five gallon 8-9’ tall trees. Active, happy trees, even with no leaves.
It musta been about fifteen years ago that I ceased my applications of pest control on our plants. Since then, our nursery has been FILLED to the brim with life. Insects, wasps, bees, birds of every description. When the leaves fall, the birds nests become visible. Sometimes I collect them. Their construction is amazingly amazing, and to think that they lived there all year without my knowledge is a testament to evolution.
This is a birds nest I’ve never seen before. It looks like a Japanese restaurant hand roll or a cone without the ice cream. It’s small, about 2.5” across and about 3.5” deep. I’m going to get it and bring it into the store where I have a little collection of nests. Cool!!!
We make our own soils with lots of organic matter that needs to cool off by turning the pile over and over every few days. Steam rises.
I used to be an aggressive skier, and this scene reminded me this morning of the tops of mountains out west when the wind had its way with the snow. Funny how sometimes dusty memories pop up at work during mundane tasks.
Sod is available year-round at the nursery, and this morning we had to lay out yet another delivery that came in this morning. Two year old bluegrass sod, same exact stuff as Yankee stadium- same sod farm.
We just potted two hundred “Asclepias incarnata,” the number one BEST butterfly-attracting perennial. You can see how white and active the roots are now. Fall potting rocks. Spring warmth wakes em up and we then find plants five times bigger than this little fella.
This cocoon caught my eye on a columnar hornbeam. I brought the branch closer to look.
These are indeed the ridged hornbeam leaves covered by some sort of fabric woven and rolled into some sort of golf ball- sized sleeping bag for junior.
A perfectly round entry or exit or ventilation hole was on the top. It wasn’t empty- that I could tell from the weight. I’ll find out what it is and report back. If you love Mother Nature, get off the couch and go through the woods. There’s cool stuff to be found out there, at least I find it more and more interesting as I go through more and more seasons.
Found out what it is!
Here is the link to info about this moth:
Everyone at some point in time experiences loss. I’ve been lucky, I have had no close personal loss until this fall as I witness my father in UNC Chapel Hill hospital receiving the best care modern medicine and caring nursing can offer. My dad is 92 and we worked together for 27 years when he then moved to NC.
This was the irrigation pond reflecting the sunset the night before I left.
Fog and smoke from wood stoves settled down upon a large field in Goldsboro, North Carolina on my way down to see dad, a spooky Civil War-looking scene. Ominous in a way. I went to college in Raleigh at NCSU, and back then the civil war was never far from my mind. It was all around us. The confederate flag was only associated with the war, not slavery (at all), and I can sympathize with confederate flag lovers when they say that it doesn’t necessarily prop up a slavery-lover’s racist angle. Only recently has that interpretation stretched into racism, although it is a very valid point. Now, when I see that flag proudly displayed, I’m immediately filled with hatred.
I have 13 hours of thinking to myself each time I go to see my parents in NC. Driving down to North Carolina has become routine, and this trip seemed to go quickly although I was in no hurry to get there in a strange sort of way. Part of me wanted to hurry, the other part slowed me down.
When I came to empty roads that curved off into the woods, it seemed that it was illustrative of what awaited me, an uncertain unknown slurry of intense emotions.
I left yesterday when it was nap time, and went to the beach to debrief myself. I watched pre-Hurricane waves roll in, and Pelicans zoom in line with each other just millimeters above the surf, an impressive feat of agility and skill, an effective predator of fish.
The sun was swallowed up by the clouds before it reached the horizon, a hint that my time at the beach had come to an end.
Peetee and I got up and stretched and left the beach to go somewhere for the night. This day will repeat itself over and over again until my reason for being here is no longer.
Post Script Tuesday, November 10th, 4:58pm:
Well, all things must, at some point, come to an end. My visit here is over now, time to return to Connecticut. It’s going to be a sorrowful drive, that’s for sure.
I was driving home through a hurricane the day after dad died, and a song came on that made me pull over. Between the lashing of the storm on the windshield, the annoying rhythm of the rental car’s cheap windshield wipers, and the mist in my eyes, I couldn’t see much. I was in no particular hurry yet wanted to get home, the same conflict I felt on the way down.
Funny it was then, that when the song ended, so did the worst of the rain. I pulled myself together and put the car in drive and headed home.
Although this song’s words don’t exactly match my experience, it matters not.
Loss of someone in your life stings, no matter how it happens.