Plant of the Month
Location: Grid P32 small triangular bed in the south edge of the Xeriscape Garden.
I am, somewhat embarrassed by the fact that I do not know what the species is for this month’s plant. All I know is that the seeds for the plant were collected in the Mule Creek Mountains of New Mexico probably sometime in the 1980’s by Pat Wells who worked for the US Forest Service Research lab here in Moscow. He had one of these plants growing in his front yard, and he generously shared this plant when we were starting the Xeriscape Garden in 2002.
This is an unusual species for a couple of reasons. First, it gradually forms a somewhat woody, upright trunk, and second (and much sadder) it only flowers once in its life. Essentially, the plant gambles all of its resources on a one-shot chance at reproducing. Apparently, the weather this year (or maybe the plant knows something about COVID19?) has stimulated the plant to flower this year.
I hope that the flowers open soon enough for the seeds to mature before winter. I will try to collect seeds and grow another generation.
July has continued our run of unusually mild weather, and we even had some rain; so, the Arboretum looks remarkably lush and green right now. Please remember that the reason we are able to have green grass is that the University uses re-claimed water, that has been treated at the Moscow Sewage treatment plant for irrigation. Do not drink or play in any of the water in the Arboretum.
I am fortunate to have a great crew of seasonal helpers this summer. Steven Carter, a graduate student in History returned for his third summer, Scott Hegge, a Horticulture student here at U of I and Maia Cousins, who is from Moscow, but home for the summer from Washington University in St Louis, are both first-year rookies who have caught on quickly and have become valuable employees.
We have managed to do pretty well at keeping up with the usual mowing, pruning and irrigation repairs, and also squeezed in a few more ‘in depth’ restoration/rejuvenation projects.
The most visible project has probably been the Sumac beds on the east edge of the Arboretum. Grass had crept in from the outside edge and there was lots of dead branches to remove. It is always amazing how nice new bark mulch looks!
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