October Surprise

Hi River Roaders,

Every month our grounds provides surprises and wonders. Here are some October surprises.

I was surprised this year to find several blooming Obedient plants (Physostegia virginiana) in our rear grounds. I expect they came in with some other transplants and did well because it was so wet this year.

I was very pleased to see how well the white-flowered Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) and the yellow-flowered Wingstem (Verbensia alternifolia) did in our “floodplain” this year. Last year this was a mess of invasive porcelain berry, bittersweet, wintercreeper, and english ivy.

I first saw one of these in the daycare playground and picked it up, thinking it was some kind of toy. When spores came out the center, I knew it was no toy. As far as I can tell, these are Bowl Earthstar mushrooms (Gaestrum saccatum). This wet summer has been amazing for fungi.

A green Halictid bee on New England Aster (Symphyotichum nova-angliae) on our rear grounds. We transplanted these two years ago, but they were eaten by deer last year before they could bloom.

I continue to be grateful for the thoughtful plantings of those who have maintained our grounds over the years. The corner between the front plaza and the exit drive is one of my favorite places, with goldenrod, snakeroot, and blue mistflower along the drive and under the redbuds.

The most common goldenrod there is Blue stem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia), which does well in the shade.

I transplanted some False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) to a shady damp area in the back earlier this year and they are doing very well. They lack the stinging hairs of some other nettles, and are great host plants for several butterflies, including Red Admirals, Question Marks, and Eastern Commas.

And finally, a sighting of Grounds Committee members, weeding the bridge garden. Please reach out if you want to join Linda, Kay, and Deb in some socially distanced grounds work.

That’s all for this week.