susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Sugar Maple

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We have a large Sugar Maple tree out front of the house.  It is just beautiful to watch as the leaves slowly change colors.  I’ve been taking pictures nearly every day, as I watch the fallen leaves collect under the tree.  One thing I noticed this year, is that the first leaves to fall are on the south side of the tree.  The north facing leaves change color later and stay on the tree longer.  We have had pleasant fall weather, so the tree has kept its leaves awhile.  If a wind storm or cold snap were to come up, this tree could lose its leaves almost overnight.

There is a resident gray squirrel in this tree, who we have been watching from the kitchen window all summer long.  No way he will sit still for a photograph, it is a wonder he doesn’t run away as soon as he hears the front door open.  I suppose he knows he is safe in the tree, since we cannot climb up there.  Recently, we have seen him climb out on a limb and nibble away at something.  Later, I looked close at the tree, and noticed the seed pods at the far end of the tree limbs, which must have been the objects of his interest.  We saw many gray squirrels when we moved here over thirty years ago, but soon after they disappeared.  In just the last couple of years, these animals have returned.  This is not the first wild / native animal whose population we have observed apparently growing and ebbing in a cycle.


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Artemisia – Wormwood

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This is such a cool looking plant!  When I bought it at the nursery, I was looking for deer-resistant plants, and this seemed to have all the attributes.  It has silvery, fuzzy leaves and a scent that is supposed to discourage predators.  Well, the deer do keep this pruned, but it has more than survived.

Artemisia anchors a minor deer path just outside one of my fenced garden areas.  Does it sound funny to say a ‘minor’ deer path?  From experience, I’ve learned that deer, like many other herd-type animals, tend to walk along the same paths.  They have ‘major’ byways where the ground is stamped down strongly.  Then there are the ‘minor’, side roads which get used less often, but are pronounced.  Deer are browsers, or grazers, which means they nibble as they walk.  I believe this is a defense mechanism that makes them less vulnerable to attacks from predators.  Unless, of course, they find a banquet they cannot pass up.  But, I’m getting very sidetracked by talking about the deer and not the plant.  Where I live, they are very intertwined.