And now, Part Deux: The Rest of the Story for Secrest Arboretum, early May 2020. Let us hope that Friday night’s frost will not be as severe as predicted.
Plum Black Knot. Ah, most rank disease. The plum black knot fungus (Apiosporina morbosum: what a name) does look a little like death warmed over. This fungus is a pathogen of plants in the genus Prunus, from plum (duh) to eating and flowering almond, to other species, such as peaches, apricots, nectarines, and in this picture from the old Shade Tree Plot at Secrest, Okame cherry (Prunus xincamp ‘Okame’). At this point, pruning out the knots is your best management option, though this is obviously not practical if the disease has progressed to large portions of the plant, including main stems.
Stipules. This botanical term (meaning straw or stalk), coined by none other than Linnaeus, is a “leaflike outgrowth on either side of the base of a petiole (leaf stalk)”. They are truly beautiful on a number of plants, including many maples. The key is to be looking for them this time of year.
Sweetgum Flowers We Hardly Know Ye. I was introduced to the monoecious flowers of sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) years ago from the luminous images in “Seeing Trees” by Robert Llewellyn and Nancy Ross Hugo. Seeing the male and female flowers this time of year, alongside the fruits (ripened ovaries) from last year changed my appreciation of sweetgum. See what I mean?
Crabapples Have Arrived! In bygl-alert “The Crabapples Are Coming, the Crabapples Are Coming” (https://bygl.osu.edu/index.php/node/1537) we noted that the peak bloom in Secrest Arboretum’s Crablandia was nigh, and now it is here. The Williams Road at Secrest now open this week and all are welcome, with proper social distancing, to drive through, and to walk through the plot and along the roads to enjoy crabapple diversity, from the 1951 planted ‘Rosseau’ to ‘Strawberry Parfait’ and hundreds more. Cool weather this week could provide almost a two-week peak; if that Friday frost does not intervene.
And finally, the last of the winter finery of river birch, the sideways and downward male cones of fir, bejeweled pearlbush (Exochorda) buds opening to blooms, planetree flowers glistening in the sun, mosses of mosses of green and orange hues, and the lilting look of larches. Welcome to Secrest Arboretum.
End Note: Check out last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review drawings and text from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves Of Grass”. A reminder to all in our days of reflection of finding the joy in “smallness and routine”.
“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d’oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depressed head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.
And I could come every afternoon of my life to look at the farmer’s girl boiling her iron tea-kettle and baking shortcake.”