Since I’ve been following the progress of the container grown rare winter annuals, I was anxious to compare that impressive growth with the condition of the wild grown plants. The big three species at Blue Jay Barrens are Leavenworthia uniflora, Draba cuneifolia, and Draba reptans. All three grow in barrens areas typified by bare soil conditions and excessive dryness. This site is one in which the Drabas seem to dominate.
Plant spikes make an effective
barrier and give the illusion of solid vegetation.
Tufts of grass sit like a thousand islands
with channels of soil running between.
The grass plays an essential role in protecting the soil from wind and
The protective grass has not only offered
protection, it has provided organic matter to fuel the soil ecosystem.
A gardener faced with soil
like this would probably begin looking for a new hobby. However, for some special plants, this is the
Rainfall has broken the soil into its individual particles and the
smaller of these have been carried down slope with the runoff water. Left behind were the small stones and pebbles
that form a protective layer over the soil surface. The energy of the rain is now spent on the
stones and the soil is left in place.
Moss and lichens are two plants
that tend to bond organic matter into a living mat that is much more rain
resistant than the bare soil.
The dried grass
plants shown here are Sporobolus vaginiflorus, a low growing annual that
thrives in hot, dry areas.
This Rose Pink, Sabatia angularis,
has lost several of its leaves from exposure to extreme cold temperatures. The plant is still alive and will recover
from this setback.
The perky little basal rosettes wait
patiently until longer daylight hours spur them into growth.
Drabas require full sunlight during their
growth period and will quickly flower before the surrounding vegetation grows
high enough to produce shade. I’m sure
they will prosper and produce a good supply of seeds for future years.
Salmon and Salad Dinner
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