Home Is Where The Heart Is..And The Lungs, and Toes, and...

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And sense of smell...and

The weather if finally breaking, with temperatures in Doylestown in northeast Ohio Wednesday in the 60s and predicted in the 70s for the next two weeks. So spring will truly be bustin’ out all over now. Here is a taste of what is happening in the ChatScape on Tuesday of this week. We have a house an land valued at under $100,000 dollars, but a landscape that is worth millions to us personally, especially right now in our COVID-19 distancing. May, now that it is truly here, is for your garden landscape enjoyment.


The ChatHouse
Our old circa 1920s farmhouse, complete with unpruned foundation yews, but the backyard...


Ferns and Friends. Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) https://bygl.osu.edu/index.php/node/1302; https://bygl.osu.edu/index.php/node/1491) continues its emergence this spring: with its sterile and fertile dimorphic fronds, its crownlike colonies yielding new growth, and lovely unfurling of fiddleheads.

Ostrich fern crown
The crown of an ostrich fern earlier this year


If you cannot get enough on ferns, check out a “Ferns and Friend” Zoomathon Lunch and Learn recorded Thursday, May 14, for the OSU Extension Master Gardening educational series; an hour long pteridinar.  Just connect to these links and look for the May 14 noon program, and learn of the many other additional offerings in this series. 




Or simply go to go.osu.edu/mgvlearn.


Ostrich fern
Those ostrich ferns now, along with hostas and may-apples in the background


Japanese painted ferns
Japanese painted fern. In the ChatScape, but this is not my picture.


Psaronius fern from 300 million years ago
Faded glory image (not mine) from a far distant past: Psaronius fossil from the Pennsylvanian of the late Carboniferous era (circa 300 million years ago. These ancient ferns contributed to what are now fossil fuels. Check out the Fern program online, including the segment of "Here in northeast Ohio"..Its The Boss.


Willow oak (Quercus phellos). This is one of my favorite oaks and is being planted more in recent years. I was interested to see in a book that I am reading, “Urban Forests” by Jill Jonnes that it was described as Thomas Jefferson’s favorite tree. The wispy new leaves as they emerge are lovely and oh so un-oak-like. 


WIllow oak
New foliage of willow oak (Quercus phellos)


Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida). The creamy-white bracts with flowers within are an essential Ohio wonder. I felt that the emergence at this stage of development was quite late compared to the past seven years or so, but see in my image gallery that they have ranged from April 24 to May 14, with about half the years with photos from May.


Flowering dogwood
Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)


Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) and Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).  “Leaves of three, let them be” should actually be “leaflets” of three, but the main event is that Virginia creeper has leaflets of five (thus “quinquefolia), in contrast to the three leaflets of poison ivy. Here they creep up, side-by-side, on an oak tree in the ChatScape.


Poison ivy
Poison ivy growing up an oak as it angrily greeted us this Wednesday


Poison ivy and Virginia creeper
Virginia creeper and poison ivy


Virginia creeper and poison ivy
VIrginia creeper and poison ivy, a little closer.  Look out!


May-apple rust (Allodus podophylli). As a plant pathologist I always await this rust fungus developing each spring on may-apple (Podophyllum peltatum). This disease is very common and is an example of an autoecious rust, occurring only on this one host, as opposed to the many heteroecious rusts of note, e.g. cedar-apple rust (junipers and rosaceous plants), white pine blister rust (white pines and gooseberries), and black stem rust of wheat (wheat and barberry).


may-apple rust
May-apple rust, symptoms on upper leaf surface


may-apple rust
may-apple rust fungal pustules on lower leaf surface


Katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum). This native Asian tree is one of my favorites. We have a small grove of four and decades ago each were the height of Anna, Sara, Laura and Jim Chatfield; now 40 feet tall. I also have some twenty year old katsuratrees, hemlocks and lindens I got somewhere and planted in a holding area at the side of our two acre yard and basically forgot about: the hemlocks I yanked out of the ground bare-root one early spring and turned into a hemlock row that is now 30 feet high.


The katsuratrees and lindens still await their displacement…Then there’s a weeping katsuratree near the house, well-placed near a Korean maple, a native striped maple, and a Kousa dogwood. And one more – a weeping katsuratree nibbled down to the ground by deer a few years ago, that then sent up shoots from the non-weeping rootstock. Lovely, rose-colored spring katsuratree foliage. 


katsuratree leaves emerge


Ogon Dawnredwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Ogon’).  This golden dawnredwood, like other Metasequoia in the Chatscape, grows like mad and is now 40 feet tall after 20 years since I bought it, probably from Bill Bargar at Plant Discovery Day at Secrest Arboretum for $10.  I often forget about it, but then look out a southern-facing window, through the other trunks and foliage and there it towers and glistens in the springtime and summer sun.


Ogon dawnredwood
Glistening foliage of 'Ogon' dawnredwood


And…Stipules on the hybrid snakebark maple. Cinnamon clethra fruits from last season paired with paired arising leaves from this spring. Magical maackia leaflets as they burst from buds. Tiny ginkgo leaves.  And “lurid purple flowers” of pawpaw, undamaged by frost in my backyard, but crisped at Secrest Arboretum 15 miles away.


Maple stipules
Salmon-colored stipules on snakebark maple hybrid


New cinnamon clethra foliage and last year's fruits


Maackia foliage emerges


Brand new ginkgo leaves


pawpaw flower
Pawpaw flower arrives


Finally, crabapples: a dozen or so have accumulated in the ChatScape over the years, with the gorgeous blooms of ‘Candymint’ the most outstanding feature on this May day.  Remember the words of the First Earl of Pome-Roy:


Canymint crabapple
Once again, that 'Candymint' crabapple


Sargent Tina crabapple
Malus sargentii 'Tina' crabapple just coming into flower now in northeast Ohio


There was a young wormling from Rome

Who yearned to make Malus his home

He searched and he searched for a perch to besmirch

But crabapple was too tiny a pome


This all speaks to the wonderful accumulation over the years of a landscape. Nothing fancy or expensive at any one time, but over time observations and stories abound until cumulatively and as individual organisms, the habitat for you and your flora lives deeply in your self.