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Nature Reflections - September 8, 2005

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Nature Reflections

September 8, 2005

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Gray MerriamLegaleseGeneral information and opinion on legal topics by Rural Legal ServicesNature Reflectionsby Jean GriffinNight Skiesby Leo Enright

Nature Reflections:Strangers in my Garden

by Jean Griffin

I enjoy the native flowers that grow in this area, and have encouraged many to grow in my garden, transplanting some, and growing others from seed. But not everything that grows in my garden is expected. Weeds? - yes, expected and, when the weather and deer flies cooperate, removed. But over the years I have had some surprises.


One of the first to arrive was a wild flower, which I have identified as Golden Corydalis, though it may be the more common Yellow Corydalis. This is a beautiful little flower, with delicate, lacy leaves and was a welcome stranger. I believe the seeds arrived with a load of topsoil, and it still lingers, coming up from seed each year, usually surprising me as to where it appears, but never overpowering other plants.

Another that arrived came with a plant I had purchased from a nursery. It was riding along in the pot, and again, because it was a pretty flower and not a local weed I let it grow. This one was a member of the violet family and I do not think native of this area. I have had other violets growing in my garden, some of which I have deliberately transplanted from the local wild, and have not found them to be a nuisance. To my dismay this one was - within a couple of years it was taking over the whole area of the garden where it first appeared, and so I spent many hours digging out innumerable offspring. I found that it was particularly prolific and I needed to dig it out before it went to seed, and, as well, if I did not get the whole root it reappeared. I have finally (I think) got it confined to a small rocky area, though it has also spread into the neighbouring lawn and natural areas.

One plant that grew near my bird feeder one year, proved to be the Great Ragweed - it was at least six feet tall, and having recognized it I destroyed it before it could go to seed. It was not far from where I had been feeding birds, and I suspect it had arrived as a seed among those the birds enjoyed.

This year, another surprise, and this one has me puzzled. I have been unable to identify this intruder, which again I believe came along with the bird seed. At least they (there are - or were two plants) were growing underneath the area where the bird feeder was. It is a sturdy plant, with a stem as thick as my thumb growing about four feet tall. The leaves are large, toothed, almost as wide as long, somewhat similar to the daturas which some people grow because of their large beautiful blossoms. This one also has a beautiful blossom, though not similar to the daturas. The mauve flower with a white center looks very similar to a Morning Glory. The flower only survives for a day and quickly disappears leaving a green seed pod that is very similar in shape to a Chinese Lantern with a round seed inside.

Because it is a large, possibly-invasive intruder I decided I could not let this one go to seed and proliferate, so I have destroyed the plants, but am still wondering what they were. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Observations: My male hummingbirds have disappeared, and there is much less activity at the feeders. Share your sightings, call Jean at 268-2518 or email

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