I believe that if this were an apple tree, with an apple tree’s superficial and small root system, it would have been completely ripped out of the ground by this storm. Pawpaws have taproots, and I think that’s whats holding the tree up.
Using a level app on my phone, I see that the trunk is leaning roughly 17° off vertical, and the big cluster of pawpaws at the top are pulling the top section to horizontal. Just add adolescent raccoons…. If the tree were to go over, it would probably land on the blue fescue and whack the western edge of the oakleaf hydrangea.
It has a very heavy crop ripening, mostly just beyond the upper righthand corner of this photograph. The lower branches form a tent you could hide in. I will be even more careful about where I stand under this tree.
I have to assess it this winter when I can see the trunk and branches. I may be removing both pawpaw trees in late winter. There’s no use keeping one—they are not self-fruitful.
The pawpaws have been dangling, to the ground in some cases, since the end of September. Back at the end of May, I saw small clouds of the flies that pollinate pawpaws for the first time. They apparently did a grand job, because both trees have had plenty of fruit this fall. The pawpaws on the eastern tree are even larger than usual this fall. I ate the first one September 30—they are weighing in close to a pound and a half.
We are now having nights in the mid-30s, so leaves are turning and the seedheads are ripening on the Echinacea and Rudbeckia. Although these plants are swaying right up to the edge of the sidewalk, the goldfinches have been very interested and hungry—and very hard to photograph with a phone. They are nervous little creatures.
Young goldfinches need fuel. According to Audubon, goldfinches do overwinter in Michigan, so they will need food in the coming months. They are also vulnerable to our increasingly warm climate. Michigan will be too far south for them in the summer by the time the average annual temperature increases by 3°C, which at current rates could occur by 2080.
The goldfinch photograph is roughly 25% of the area of a larger photograph which was taken fully zoomed, so the focus is not its best—a telephoto lens on a real camera would allow for much better results—but it captures the reason to leave the seedheads on for a while.
“Your garden looks like an estate!” That comment really surprised me, but I realized that there is one thing this little yard has that most yards do not: beds with clearly defined edges and swaths of plants that are the same variety. Edges and swaths lead the eye around, and can make your yard seem both larger and calmer.
Fall is a great time to think about what changes you would like to make to your yard; many plants can be divided and moved around now that the temperatures are cooler. Summer’s damage can be appraised, and gardening mistakes can go discreetly into the compost pile.Continue reading “Edge Effects in Shade”
My yard is recovering from both painters and “abnormally dry” conditions. A drought by any other name….is still abnormally dry. Fall has been relatively unexciting, colorwise, but the colors are brightening, finally.
The painters did a beautiful job on the house, and not too much damage to the plants surrounding the house. The plants should be fine by spring; they have endured both roofers and painters this year. Perhaps it is a good thing that a lot of plants went dormant by early August.
We are on that autumnal roller coaster, but despite the relatively balmy temperatures—it reached at least 49°F today and will be in the mid 40s all week, except Tuesday, when it will reach into the upper 50s—I have to put the garden to bed for the winter.
Enough leaves have fallen to finish wrapping up the fig tree, for example. This tree is still shrub sized, so I am still wrapping it the same way: one bunny-chewed acrylic blanket, three tomato cages, four yards of floating row cover, and some big piles of leaves. Continue reading “The Marshmallow Has Landed”
I wandered by my little fig tree yesterday when I was photographing fall color—I even gently tweaked a couple of the remaining figs to see if there was a chance of them ripening. I thought not, but today the answer is definitely no.
We have had a couple of nights in the last few with frost enough to do in the hostas’ leaves, but the fig was fine as of yesterday afternoon. Today one leaf remains attached, as are five frozen figs. I ate the last ripe one that the chipmunks missed on Wednesday.
The weather people are starting to make breathless prognostications about sleet and snow flurries—Novemberish weather, in other words—however, the sun came out for a little while shortly after lunch today, so I zoomed outside to capture some more color. Continue reading “November’s Gloom Has Its Bright Spots”