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A beautiful but warm October weekend

October 26, 2014
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The skies were a clear blue all weekend long, but the temperatures felt more like summer than fall. The most gardening I did was watering! I did pick a few vegetables and do a bit of clean-up but not much else. The trees are really beginning to put on their fall display. From beautiful reds on red maples and sweetgums to orange and yellow of the few sugar maples we have.
sugar maple oct25.14.2

sugar maple oct25.14.1

red maple fall foliage.20142

red maple fall foliage.20141
I drove around my neighborhood this afternoon shooting pictures. I was surprised to see the small Lake Forman in our neighborhood was really low and only one surviving swan was swimming around.
lake forman oct26.141

swanoct20142
Our dogwoods and crape myrtles are also beginning to put on a show. We were surprised by how bare the crape myrtles were in Baton Rouge. Not only no fall, color, but hardly any leaves were left.
crape myrtles baton rouge 2914. I asked about the problem and was told they had a bad case of cercospera leaf spot which has prematurely defoliated the trees. They blame the wet summer for the problem. Most of ours are full of leaves, which are beginning to turn, and some have a few errant blooms left.crapemyrtle oct26.14

My sasanqua camellia is really putting on its show and the plant is loaded with buds, so I expect to have blooms for months. I also bought a camellia sinensis in Baton Rouge. Did you know that the tea that you drink comes from this plant? I only bought one, but the folks who sold it, plan to be at the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show this year, so I can get more. It has pretty white blooms which are just beginning to open. These plants are the ones we get green, black, white, and oolong tea from. Each type (green vs. black) is made using different processing before drying of the leaves. I have never picked my own tea leaves, but time will tell. It is pretty small now, so I think I will just let it grow and hope it survives the winter.
camellia sinensis oct26141

camellia sinensis oct26142

Here are the answers to your mystery plant challenge and the new one:

Mystery plant A – mystery plants oct14.14.3 is the Chinese tallow tree or popcorn tree– Sapium sebiferum. Although it is a fairly showy tree, especially when the fruit matures and pops open to show white waxy “popcorn”-like seeds, a mature tree can produce over 100,000 seeds and many of them germinate. It can be invasive where winter doesn’t limit its spread. Central Arkansas is on the cusp, but further south it is a real issue. Don’t plant it!

Mystery plant B – mystery plants oct14.14.2 is the bush that is dotting the landscape up and down the roadways right now in Arkansas. Groundsel bush is the common name–Baccharis halimifolia is the Latin name. The plant is dioecious, meaning separate male and separate female plants. The female plants are the showiest with white tuft-like blooms. It gives a lot of color to our late summer drives, but it too can get a bit too happy and spread. If you plant it in the landscape, regular shearing would be called for to keep it manageable, and learn to recognize seedlings!

Mystery plant C – mystery plant oct 15.14 is a wildflower–one of the milkweeds: Asclepias viridis. According To Theo Witsell it is pretty common in the prairie regions of the state, but it was new to me. Several of you got it correct as well–great job!

Here is your new challenge: (All pictures taken in Baton Rouge)
Mystery plant A –mystery plants oct27.8 is a vine

Mystery plant B – mystery plants oct27.1

mystery plants oct27.2

mystery plants oct27.3 is an evergreen shrub–hopefully hardy in a protected spot in central Arkansas and south.

Mystery plant C mystery plants oct27.4

mystery plants oct27.5 is a new variegated form of a tropical plant for us.

Good Luck!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2014 9:14 pm

    That crazy looking thing is on the Pipe vine. I grew it for the first time this year. I had no idea how it was suppose to look. I wanted to grow it to attract the Pipe Vine Swallow Tail butterfly.

  2. larobinette permalink
    October 27, 2014 8:24 am

    On Friday, we went on the swamp tour. I was proud to be the only MG that know the white flowering shrub that was blooming, Groundsel. Thanks to you Laura Robinette

Trackbacks

  1. Inside a Camellia Sasanqua at Bok Tower Gardens in Florida | I see beauty all around by rob paine

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