Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Grapevines and other Wild Things...

As you have seen from recent pictures, we are landscaping immediately adjacent to the house.  The reason for this is two-fold: 1) we need to protect the foundation from erosion and excessive moisture, 2) aesthetics.  And I might add, in that order.  A good stand of grass prevents erosion while keeping the right amount of moisture intact.  The rest of the property we will leave "natural", with some maintenance in the areas immediately adjacent to the house.  The maintenance might include tree removal (if it is deemed that they pose an imminent threat to the house), brush thinning to allow the natural flora to flourish, and water run-off control.

Today; however, I want to focus on the natural flora which we have seen this spring.  I have reported on the natural flora of Leaning Oak in an earlier post, but now that spring is here, it is time for an update.  I will admit that I have not formally identified everything you will see in the pictures, and some of the flora may look like "weeds" to you.  What is a weed?  It is nothing more than an unwanted plant.  These plants belong here, they are native here, so to call them "weeds" would be very narrow.  The flora of a forest is widely varied in its shades of green, its flowers, its textures, and all of these combine to express lushness and beauty.

We want to maintain as much as that as possible here.  We want to be as close to the native forest as we can, keeping it as a welcome place for the deer and birds and other animals which have traversed it  for many of their lifetimes.  The work I have done to clear debris (trees and shrubs which were knocked down and destroyed by the construction process) has already brought more fauna activity than we saw in the same areas previously.  In the process of all of this activity, such as clearing the non-native and invasive Chinese Privet, the natural flora of Leaning Oak is springing forth.

We have found multiple grapevines of Muscadine on the property.  Anything you can make from other grapes, one can make from Muscadine, the grapes of which do not grow in a bunch (or grappe, a francais).  We want to create the opportunity (sans cultivation) for the Muscadine to grow well and produce, because I am sure the fauna of Leaning Oak will benefit as well.  We will, too, for that matter.  I have previously identified the farkleberry plant, which produces a berry similar to blueberry.  We have wild blackberry growing on the property.  Pink, white, and yellow wildflowers are emerging.  Many other flora, including multiple grasses, are rising to a new season.

Here are some pictures, and again, I cannot identify everything at this point.  Remember, one by itself may not look like much, but they are part of a grand and natural mosaic, each contributing to its beauty.

This and the following two pictures are Muscadine grapevines.  I have picked
this one off the ground of our anterior forest at the rear of the house.

This is another grapevine, growing on the floor.  The vines will seek a tree
onto which they will latch and grow thick and strong.

This is a full-grown Muscadine grapevine, among the trees, in this case, Yaupon Holly, with which it has enjoined itself.
The trees serve as natural trellises, and do not benefit so much from the powerful vine.

I am not sure what this is, perhaps an Indian
grass of sorts.  More research required.

Another plant for which I do not yet have
an identify.

This is floor of The Grove, which is a natural grouping of trees in front of
the house.  The wide-bladed grasses look like Dallisgrass to me, and one
can get an impression of the mosaic of which it is a part.  Including in this
greenscape is American Beautyberry, other grasses, and Sweetgum saplings.

Yellow wildflower in the front of our property.

Pink wildflowers, names yer unknown.

Pink wildflowers with a lacey white wildflower.

St. Andrew's Cross, very small now, but
will grow into a nice open bush with yellow
flowers.

The farkleberry bush is thriving right now.
Perhaps we will harvest from it this year...

The forest flora mosaic.  In this picture are a red oak sapling, wildflowers, Texas bluegrass, a briar (I hate them), St. Andrew's Cross, other things of which I do not know their names.