Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Heat wave at the end of May

This past week has been a heat wave of record breaking temperatures for Ottawa. Lawns are already turning brown and the garden plants are suffering. Out on the berm the wildflowers don't seem to mind the heat too much although the newly planted trees and bushes are struggling. Today the second mowing of the season went around with a large mower leaving a double wide path around the trees on the south side. They seem to have done a pretty good job of avoiding hitting the trees.

The other day I took a closer look at the differences in the plants around the 2009 and 2010 plantings. Some plants found in the newly planted area are not present i nthe area left uncut for over a year and vice versa. In the 2010 planting area there is little grassleaved stitchwort and no vetch while in the 2009 area (the square) there is little white clover or chickweed but a lot of vetch and stitchwort. The area along the forest edge is even more diverse with buttercup daisies, wild carrot, goldenrod, canada thistle, philadelphia fleabane and yellow mustard all common while practically absent from the square or the bush area.

In the regularly cut over lawn area the common plants are: grass, dandelion, white clover, round leaved plantain, chickweed, black medick, yarrow, crab grass, silvery cinquefoil with patches of devils paint brush, hawkweed, birdfoot trefoil

In the newly planted bush area that has not been cut this year the common plants are: grass,dandelion, white clover red clover, chickweed, stitchwort, yarrow, black medick

In the square that was planted last year the common plants are: grass, crabgrass, birdfoot treefoil, red clover, vetch, grass leaved stitchwort, yarrow, dandelion, bull thistle. There are also isolated patches of other plants (wild carrot, chickory)

In the area that gets irregularly cut along the forest edge the common plants are: grass, goldenrod, wild carrot, yarrow, dandelion, stitchwort, blackmedick, birdfoot trefoil, honeysuckle, cinquefoil, philadelphia fleabane, canada thistle, purple vetch, buttercup, goldenrod, mustard, daisy.

In Bloom:
dandelion mostly finished,
philadelphia fleabane
daisy just starting
creeping charlie
white clover
lilac mostly finished
honeysuckly mostly finished
red osier dogwood
ajuga 2 patches along fence
common speedwell
thyme leaved speedwell one patch
devils paint brush 2 patches
yellow hawkweed 1 patch
purple vetch
blue eyed grass under forest edge
columbine (pink escapee one patch)
yellow mustard (wormseed?)
garlic mustard (mostly finished)
Unidentified Escapee along fence yellow flower single pistle multiple yellow petals over laping about 2-3 cm wide in a small head of 3-4 flowers. leaves pinnately compound alternate on stem grows to 2 feet high, seems to like moist shady area and can compete with the grass on the north side

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summer is here

Summer is here with some really hot days. It was supposed to get up to 30C today. There hasn't been a proper rain since the weekend the trees were planted. Today and yesterday the city worker came by and watered the new trees. The trees desperately needed it since they hadn't had time to spread out their roots. Some of the maple trees that had frost damage are starting to recover and are producing new leaves. A few of the pine trees that were planted don't look like they have any life in them. I suspect they may not live.

This heat is bringing out the flowers. On the south side of the berm where the grass was commonly mown and where it is a bit drier the speedwell is all over the place in the short grass. Speedwell seems to be past the prime of its bloom period. Chickweed another small white flower that does well in short grass areas is starting to become more common. On the north side of the berm the common low flower is the purple creeping charlie. It is spread out all over and it doesn't seem to be bothered by competition with tall grass as it is all through the area where the tall grass is growing. It is really quite pretty.

One interesting looking plant that has been a mystery all spring finally reaveled itself to be the devil's paint brush. it grows in several large clumps in a sunny dry area on the south side of the trees where the mower goes once a year. They have been large mats of individual small plants. Until now the plants have stayed low to the ground and have just put out some very hairy leaves from a central base. With the hot weather a flowering head has jumped up and opened up to reveal the bright orange head of a devil's paint brush hawkweed.

In Bloom:
dandelion (going to seed)
creeping charlie,
devil's paint brush
fleabane, (pink just coming on)
blue eyed grass ( one location)
yellow rocket
garlic mustard (past prime)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Tree Planting

It's lilac and honeysuckle time. This past Saturday morning Manordale Public School came and planted 450 trees and bushes. It was awful weather, cold and rainy, so everyone who came out deserves a big thanks. There must have been 30-50 volunteers planting trees and they finished the job in about 3 hours. As the soil was wet, the planting was rushed and getting them in the ground was all that was important. Some were planted too deeply, some had roots exposed, some were not patted in firmly. These deficiencies will be remedied over the next few days. The biggest hardship the trees had was that there was a bit of a frost the next night. The red maples especially seemed to take that hard with many of those in exposed locations severely wilted now. Today was the first grass cutting of the season in the berm area.

Volunteers planting trees on the north slope of the berm.