Last weekend, the weather shifted from fairly cool spring to full-on summer, with highs around 90-93 F (~32-34 C) and high humidity. Over the past few days, the temperature has moderated, but only because tropical air streaming up from the Gulf of Mexico has brought frequent showers and thunderstorms.
Since I missed last week’s Six on Saturday (because I was attending Montrose Garden’s spring open-house and eldest offspring’s last track meet of the season), this six includes photos taken over the past ten days. Oldest photos are first.
1. Chionanthus virginicus (fringe tree)
There are a few wild fringe trees in the woods nearby, but I planted this specimen beside the path leading to the front door. It’s a male tree, so its flowers aren’t as showy as a female’s, but it doesn’t drop fruit on the path in autumn. [Correction: The internet says I was mistaken. It’s the male trees that have more impressive flowers.]
I recently read that the invasive emerald ash borer has started attacking C. virginicus, so we may have limited time to enjoy this tree.
2. Allium siculum (honey garlic)
This species is often labeled Nectaroscordum siculum in bulb catalogs. By either name, it’s a good choice for piedmont gardens, because it blooms after most of the spring bulbs but before the summer bulbs like Crinum and Eucomis get started.
3. Cypella herbertii
This is the first flower of 2018 for my clump of Cypella herbertii. This little irid is amazingly hardy for a plant that is native to Argentina and Uruguay. It flowers for much of the spring and summer and remains green for most of the winter. Even when frozen to the ground by very cold weather, the foliage starts growing again as soon as temperatures rise above freezing. Flowers open early in the morning and usually last only one day, but each inflorescence produces new flowers sequentially for several weeks.
4. Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip poplar)
Although Liriodendron is one of most common deciduous tree species around here, I rarely see the flowers, because they open high in the forest canopy. The twig bearing this one broke off in the wind and landed on my garden path.
5. Terrapene carolina carolina (eastern box turtles)
The garden’s resident box turtles are enjoying the wet weather.
I hadn’t seen this adult male box turtle in the garden before, but he turned up twice this week [update: three times]. The notch at the front of his carapace is distinctive, so I won’t have any trouble recognizing him if I find him again.
This smaller female is a garden regular. The kids have named her Penelope. We offered her a fresh strawberry on Friday morning, and she ate most of it before disappearing into the flowerbeds.
Percy Shelley hasn’t made an appearance yet this year.
6. Mutinus elegans (elegant stinkhorn)
Look what else the rain brought out. I’m not sure what the scientist who named this species was thinking. Elegant?
Slugs and snails enjoy munching on the stinkhorns. Their smell also attracts American carrion beetles (Necrophila americana), but I was unable to get a good photo of the surprisingly alert insects. As soon as I get close, they scuttle down to the ground and bury themselves in the mulch.
Want more Six on Saturday? The Propagator is our host, so head over to his blog.