Thursday, April 26, 2012

Barn Ruins and Beyond

Here are some of the plants blooming in the Barn Ruins this week...

Corydalis. Also present in white and yellow.


Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'

Athyrium niponicum 'Burgundy Lace', painted fern

Dodecatheon meadia, shooting star

Arisaema sikokianum, Japanese Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Polemonium caeruleum 'Brise D'Anjou', variegated Jacob's ladder

Polygonatum biflorum, Solomon's seal

Paeonia suffruticosa

Cornus florida 'Rubra'

Cornus florida 'Alba'

And beyond...

Don't miss the spectacular azalea blooms over the next few weeks!  And coming soon...a blog post just about azaleas.

Visit our website for information about attending the Mother's Day Tea event and a free photo walk the Saturday prior.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Weather, Weather, Quite Contrary

Going from a hot and muggy 87 degrees on Monday to cool and rainy through the end of the week is a welcome change for this westerner.  I'm not ready for summer weather yet.  I'm still enjoying spring at Welkinweir.  Here are some images of what has been blooming over the past week.

Along the exit drive, Malus 'Prairiefire' covered in vivid pink blooms.

Phlox adds calming splashes of bluish-purple along the steps to the Hillside Garden.

Breathe deeply as you pass the lilacs or Korean spice viburnum.  

The 'Carol Mackie' daphne near the estate house also has a pleasant aroma.

There is still plenty of yellow to be seen throughout the garden.
L: Yellow trillium on Azalea Lane.  R: Uvularia grandiflora, marybells, at the entrance to the Welkinweir estate house drive.

L: Globe-flower, R: Mahonia repens, creeping mahonia, along steps up through the Hillside Garden.

Near the Pinetum are several magnolia cultivars with great yellow blooms.  Top to bottom are 'Butterfly', 'Golden Gift', and 'Yellow Bird'.

Some plants, like Scilla hispanica, Spanish bluebells, come in a few different shades.  My favorite is the pale pink.

Epimedium is present in white and purple.

Then there are those plants, that for whatever reason, are content to just be white.

L: Sanguinaria canadensis 'Multiplex', double bloodroot, at top of steps to Barn Ruins.  R: Tiarella, foamflower, along the steps down to the Barn Ruins.  

L: sweet woodruff, Galium odoratum (Notice the "odor"? This one smells good too!) planted along the Barn Ruins steps. R: Prunus laurocerasus, cherry laurel in the Barn Ruins.

Fothergilla  major near the west estate lawn.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Where Sky Meets Water

Welkinweir (which means "where sky meets water") provides great habitat for many different bird species.  There are almost always turkey vultures in the sky.  We have around 50 bluebird nesting boxes set up throughout the property which draw many tree swallows and bluebirds this time of year.  In the visitor parking area there is a small marsh where the red-winged blackbirds nest.  Additionally, the large pond that gave the arboretum its name attracts more than just obnoxious Canada geese.  On any given day you might spot osprey, great blue heron, bald eagles, and even canvasbacks.  The song of birds is constant this time of year, and it was this orchestra that inspired the topic of today's blog post.  It has been one of my more difficult photography endeavors.

Have you ever tried to convince a tree swallow or a bluebird to be still so you can take a picture?  Birds are uncooperative creatures.  They hide in the shrubbery or fly out of the lens, so I have to sneak up on them.  This leads to unflattering pictures.  I invite you to play a little game called "find and identify the bird in this photo."  I cropped most of the pictures to make it easier, but if you click on the pictures they will open in a bigger size to make it even easier.

I took the first picture because of all the beautiful colors, but there's a bird in it too! 
Answers at the end of the post. :)  This link will take you to a cool site where you can listen to all the bird songs:

Why would we want all these birds?  Besides their pretty songs, many of them enjoy eating things like this!  Bird H is one of those bird species that thinks these hairy tent caterpillars are delicious.

Be sure to check back in a week. I saved a lot of beautiful blossom pictures from my walk today that I will post next week.  Here is a sneak preview...


Join us for the wildlife walk, Saturday, April 21st, to see and hear more bird species.  This free event is at 8 a.m., and starts in the visitor parking area.  For more information about visiting Welkinweir, see our website: 

Bird Answers: A. Canada goose, B. eastern bluebird, C. brown headed cowbird, D. Pair of eastern towhee. Bonus points if you saw both of them, E. red winged blackbird, F. tree swallow, G. gold finch, H. blue jay.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Great Day to be a Bumblebee

Weigela subsessilis 'Canary' is in full bloom in the Barn Ruins.

The bumblebees like it so much, they go to great acrobatic lengths just to get a closer look.  I thought for sure this bumblebee would be too much for such a small flower, but both stayed attached.

Nearby, along the steps leading down into the Barn Ruins, Corydalis lutea 'Alba' blooms inconspicuously.  It grows well in this shady, cool spot. 

Bright purple can be seen just outside the Barn Ruins walls.  The redbuds are in bloom in this area, and all along Azalea Lane.  We have many different cultivars planted.

The newest addition is Cercis canadensis var texensis, the 'Texas White' redbud.

'Forest Pansy' redbud and the nearby weeping 'Covey' are in full bloom. If you proceed down Azalea Lane you can see 'Appalachian Red' and 'Oklahoma'.

'Appalachian Red'

Cercis chinensis puts on a more impressive flower show than Cercis canadensis and has a shrub-like form instead of the tree form of the Eastern redbud.  Cercis chinensis also seeds prolifically.

Nearby, Chaenomeles speciosa, flowering quince, is showing off for the Easter weekend.

A less showy, but cool plant, popped up this week.  This is Podophyllum peltatum, also known as mayapple. It is a native woodland plant.  The flower bud is not yet open.

Although not native, and tending to seed prolifically as well, the Japanese maples are stunning. 

I found many more bumblebees enjoying the azalea blooms at the bottom of Azalea Lane.  I suppose if I were small enough, I would bury my whole head in the flowers too.

Finally Amelanchier canadensis, shadblow serviceberry, is blooming near our visitor parking lot around the pavilion and also near the Children's Garden.  Later in the summer, they will produce edible fruit.  The birds love the fruit, but if you're lucky they might leave a few.

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