Good Oak News

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Report on the Last Flowers of Fall

It may be a week overdue (we've been very busy with fall plantings around here!) But I thought I'd send a quick report regarding our fall wildflower walk on the weekend of Oct. 9th.

We began our trip by looking at some of the fall blooming asters in the "dry prairie" portion of the UW Arboretums native plant gardens, this area is right at the front of the building. There we saw silky aster, flax leaved aster and sky blue aster all showing off a bit. Most of the goldenrods were starting to go to seed, but a few showy asters still had some bright yellow color for us. Last but not least we looked at several species of grass which are good for ornamental purposes such as dropseed, side-oats gramma, bottlebrush grass and little bluestem as the latter species began to take on the characteristic bronze coloration which it will maintain all winter.

Because some of the young plants that were planted this year are blooming out of sequence, the UW Arboretum's native wildflower garden is an interesting place to visit where we can see a number of species blooming that should have gone to seed months ago. Species like butterfly weed and early sunflower were doing their best to attract pollinators a good two months after their wild counterparts have finished blooming. I'm sure they'll get the timing right net year.

As we moved around the back of the visitors center we were delighted to find a flock of cedar wax wings dining on the berries of a grouping of elderberry bushes.

Storms were threatening to move in, so we called it a day after about an hour and a half at the gardens. It was an enjoyable morning there, but really, any time you get out in a natural setting is a good time.

Stay tuned here, for next year we will be planning bi-monthly field trips in the Madison area and around southern Wisconsin. If you would like to be put on the email list for these trips please contact Frank.

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