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The Whitehurst Diaries: Butterfly Weed
As summer ends, annuals get down to business of setting seeds - one wilding plant, the beautiful milkweed or butterfly weed, moved from the horse pasture, is now thriving, in new location with perennials
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By Sharon Whitehurst
Each summer comes to its end, and as the days draw in, the annuals in my flower garden get down to the business of setting seeds.
The zinnias have gone shabby, though still vividly colored...handsome from a distance. Many of the dwarf sunflowers have shed their brilliant petals, but the seeds haven't plumped enough to harvest.
The garden draws me, even in this season of its decline.
I note with frustration the weeds that have pushed through layers of mulch, fret over the gaps where some cherished perennials gave up during the heat and drought of July.
My clump of butterfly weed [asclepias tuberosa] had its beginnings as a wildling. In years past I ordered seed of this brilliant member of the milkweed family - seed which never germinated. During our first summer here, I was delighted to recognize the plant growing in vigorous patches in the horse pasture.
I moved a root to my perennial strip, and while it hasn't spread as fast as I expected, it seems well established.
The seed pods are more slender than those of its common cousin, but the seeds are borne on similar silky parachutes, filmy threads which catch the sun as the promise of new life is carried away on the autumn wind. - Sharon Whitehurst
This story was posted on 2012-09-27 06:24:17
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