Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dark Foliage

As I was walking around the garden yesterday afternoon, taking a break from weeding and other chores, I noticed that the Ranunculus ficaria 'Brazen Hussy' was coming up. I love this plant. It come up almost overnight and shortly thereafter has the brightest yellow flowers. It is a buttercup, after all, so I guess we should expect that. The remarkable thing is this almost black foliage. There are other shrubs and probably perennials with black or almost black foliage, (Ninebark 'Diablo', Cimicifuga 'Brunette' come to mind) but in early spring, most things are a nice, fresh green. This foliage will green up after awhile, but when it comes up it is just very dark, glossy black. I'll post a picture of the blooms when they get here, along with the other ranunculus that we grow.
The next photo is of Helleborus 'Lady in Red'. This is probably the darkest foliage on any of my hellebores. Though we have some seedlings that come close, they mostly either have dark foliage or dark blooms, but not both. This is not your cheery, bright, spring flower, but I am oddly attracted to it nonetheless.

The biggest adventure yesterday wasn't the weeding or the flowers, though. The biggest adventure was the snapping turtle. As I was setting of on my walk to look at the gardens and take some pictures, I wandered over to Lake Amanda. As I came down the path to walk around the bottom of the pond, I noticed some movement and realized that a very large snapping turtle was coming off a large rock at the edge of the pond and getting back into the water. His head is the size of my fist and he is about 24 inches long. Not a tiny, friendly turtle. He sat on the bottom for a long while looking at me. Luckily the water was clear so I could see him. We had suspected that there was a large turtle in there, but they are usually rather secretive and keep themselves hidden.
The scary thing is that we have worked in that pond, tending the plants growing there. Knowing that this big guy is actually there makes me realize just how lucky we both are to still have all of out fingers and toes. A snapper that size can easily cut right through skin and bone. When we have tried to catch others, they regularly bite right through the heavy wire we use in place of fishing line and the heaviest hooks we can find.
The next job is to find a way to get him out of there. We'll check with a friend who is a trapper and see how he might proceed. I try to live and let live (even the large deer who we caught eating azalea buds the other night), but this guy is dangerous to us and to the fish and frogs who live in the pond, not to mention that snapping turtles can finish off a waterlily overnight. No waterlilies growing there anymore, the last shard of one was moved a few years ago.
Today is a weeding day - cressy probably. There is much less of it than in previous years since I have worked to hard to mostly eliminate it from the gardens, but there is still some and it must go.

1 comment:

keewee said...

I would want to find the snapping turtle a new home too.