Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday Vignette: Little wonders

Instead of focusing on a single event in the garden or otherwise, my Wednesday Vignette features three images that captured my interest this week.  They're unrelated except that each gave reason to pause and feel wonder at nature's mysteries.

I've expressed concerns about the large mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) that serves as a centerpiece of sorts in my backyard garden.  It produced a few random sprigs of foliage off-season this past winter, then failed to leaf out as normal in March.  In late May, it was still bare and, with evidence of shot hole borer, I said I thought it was a goner.  Within a week or so of that pronouncement, I finally began to see leaves appear throughout its canopy.

The tree isn't leafing out uniformly and the coverage doesn't begin to approach what would be normal for this time of year but the event may have earned the tree at least a temporary reprieve


The next surprise showed up among my Agapanthus, which are nearing the peak of their annual bloom cycle.  In one area, I located two mutant stems, each sporting two separate flowers.

In addition to producing a normal flower at the terminus of its stalk, the stem in the foreground shows a second smaller flower emerging mid-way down the stem.   Another such stem can be seen in the background.  An example of fasciation perhaps?


The last observation wasn't unexpected like the first two but it did make me smile.

After rolling about in the anthers of a Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri), this bee took off locked and loaded (with sacs of pollen)


For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

20 comments:

  1. Great shot of the bee! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for your mimosa.

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    1. I still think the tree is seriously compromised but I'm hoping I can give it a bit more time. For one thing, my husband and I are looking at launching a major kitchen+ model and I hate to think of piling removal/replacement of the tree on top of that kind of chaos. I won't be getting my proposed patio arbor any time soon, that's for sure!

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  2. Look at the saddle bags on that bee!

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  3. Love the image of the bee and poppy! One of my great pleasures in the garden is discovering little vignettes that are sometimes overlooked. Best wishes for your mimosa tree! I finally cut down my previously gorgeous Japanese maple that had ambrosia beetles. It was a big loss, and I haven't decided with what to replace it.

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    1. I'm sure you'll find a beautiful replacement, Deb. I expect you need to avoid putting another Japanese maple in that spot? If I lose the mimosa (and it's only a matter of time I think), I'm not sure I can put another tree there, partly because I don't think we can grind the stump down very far without destabilizing the slope and partly because a new tree could run me afoul of my community's "view conservation" ordinance. I told my husband that we might need to build an arbor over the patio to provide the shade we'll lose if the tree's removed but that's not going to happen any time soon.

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  4. Great vignettes! I must admit I was thrilled to see your Mimosa leafing out. It's always so sad to lose a big tree, and yours has a beautiful shape. We have a few Oaks that are borderline, and it will be so sad when they must go.

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    1. The problem here is a combination of prolonged drought and opportunistic insects. Sadly, trees of various kinds are being lost all over the area at a rapid rate.

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  5. I love the photo of the bee in the Romneya. I have these growing in my garden and they give a lot of pleasure. Albizias seem to be very prone to borer: one I had in a previous garden had so many holes in the trunk I don’t know how it survived. Yours will leave a huge gap if you take it down.

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    1. Apparently, Albizias are host plants for the shot hole borer and, as those pests are now widespread here, I imagine I won't be the only one experiencing this problem. It'll be interesting to see if my tree blooms at all this year - that usually happens in July.

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  6. Fingers crossed this is the beginning of good news for your Albizia julibrissin. And it’s funny to read your Agapanthus are nearing their peak. I was worried mine weren’t going to produce any blooms this year but just today saw a few buds starting to emerge.

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    1. Our warmer weather usually means everything gets started earlier here (and finishes earlier too). The only exception I can think of are the hellebores, which seem far slower to bloom here.

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  7. Delightful photo of the bee with her heavy load.

    Some trees were very late leafing out this year. I was very worried about my Acers and one of the Lagerstroemias--then suddenly, they were all leafed out. ??!?!? Soil was just colder than usual, maybe? Best of luck with your Albizzia.

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    1. There are definitely signs of the shot hole borers in the Albizia's truck and major limbs but whether an infestation is largely responsible for the tree's failure to leaf out is admittedly unclear. Our pathetic winter rain is another likely factor. The leaf-out in June followed a slow daylong drip I treated the tree to 2-3 weeks beforehand.

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  8. What a weird agapanthus, I've never seen that before. Lovely romneya image.

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    1. I think the funky Agapanthus stems must be fasciation. I understand that can be the result of environmental stress but the exact cause is unknown.

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  9. Hope your Albizia julibrissin recovers so that you can once again experience the joy of those sticky blooms covering everything. Sweet picture of the bee flying away from the Matilija Poppy!

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    1. I'd be happier if the Albizia just leafs out fully, Peter. No flowers would be fine!

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  10. love the pic of the loaded bee and the fascinating info about fasciation! Variation to be celebrated, no need to be called deformity.

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    1. Oddly, I just discovered yet another example of fasciated stems this morning. With temperatures continuing to rise and drought a persistent problem, perhaps we'll see more of these mutations in the future as plants struggle to respond to environmental stresses.

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