Ginkgo biloba, known as ginkgo or gingko (both pronounced /ˈɡɪŋkoʊ/), also known as the ginkgo tree or the maidenhair tree, is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. It is found in fossils dating back 270 million years. Native to China, the tree is widely cultivated and was introduced early to human history. It has various uses in traditional medicine and as a source of food. The genus name Ginkgo is regarded as a misspelling of the Japanese gin kyo, "silver apricot".
I have been fond of the Ginkgo tree since 4th grade (1947-48), having been introduced to it by our teacher, Ms Campbell, when she took us on a nature walk through Forest Hill Cemetery. As it happened, that cemetery is separated from the Kansas City MO block on which we lived (1946-55, for me - 1946-93, for my mother) by only a long, narrow park. Ms Campbell pointed out a beautiful, mature Ginkgo that was less than a two-block walk from our house. She told us about the tree and it stuck with me.
In 1977, I planted a small Ginkgo tree as a street tree in front of my little house in Wichita. Unfortunately, neighborhood kids had an inclination toward running over the poor little thing with their bicycles, but it survived for about 20 years. When we built this house (1999), I had them plant one Ginkgo and one sugar maple in our front yard. Over the years I've observed an interesting characteristic of the Ginkgo tree: in Autumn, it sheds the vast majority of its leaves, over-night! We awaken to a majestic, thick carpet of gold spread on the ground around that tree.
A couple of nights ago, the Ginkgo did its thing. This morning, I spent 30 minutes raking, which disposed of about 60% of the carpet. I could have finished the job, but didn't want to over-do it: it had been a few weeks since I last raked. I didn't think to take a "before raking" photo; but, below is the "after". The golden carpet had spread completely to the right of the front porch - being deeper on the right of the tree than on the left.
Kansas is not known for its fall color - mostly because, as is true in much of Colorado, most of Kansas has trees (where there are significant numbers) that produce yellow and brown leaves in the fall. Loving the color of sugar maples as I do, when we moved here, I had one planted in our front yard. It is starting to change into its fall colors.
Six days later (10/10/2016):
And, 10 days later, still (10/20/2016): I missed the full-color tree by being on travel!
As you well know, we've been subjected to six or seven "flash floods" this summer, among them a couple that were higher than we'd previously experienced on this property. FYI: Every cubic foot of ground within miles of us, is completely saturated from all of the rain that has so far graced us, this year - AND -we're expecting another flash flood later today. Flash flooding plus 2.5" to 5" hail plus 75 miles/hour winds is our forecast in which the weather people say they have high confidence! [Credit my own, personal weather guy (Hunky Husband) for getting the latest to me!]
Before we get inundated, again, and before my cleanup work gets undone, I thought I would brag about some of the progress I've made in the past several days.
The first two photos show the major/minor flotsam that was deposited at the boundary zone between our back lawn and the woods.
This photo (below) shows the boundary zone as it appears this morning - following my cleanup efforts.
Just within the woods is a rather clear space in which we buried our last two cats (graves marked by upright concrete monoliths). The next photo (below) shows that area before cleanup. The next photo shows that area following my cleanup efforts. Note that the log in the background of the second photo is just beyond our property line.
As a result of the various flash flood events, we were left with five major piles of flotsam in the boundary zone between the grassland on our property and the woods on our property. As of this morning, I have finished my cleanup efforts on the two piles nearest the house. Below are photos of the larger of the two. The first two photos (below) show the pile in early July and late September. It hadn't really changed a whole lot.
The photo, below is a view of the area that is into the woods from the pile in the above two photos. Originally, I had formed a brush pile in that area of which most had been swept away in the flooding. This is the area in which I "rebuilt" a brush pile from the flotsam in the large pile - plus from the area surrounding my brush pile.
This photo (below) shows a broadside view of the flotsam pile as it appeared in early July.
The last two photos (below) show the area of the flotsam pile as "cleaned up" to rebuild my brush pile, and the brush pile, itself.
To give you an idea of scale: the brush pile is at least two feet taller than my height (5' 5"). Fortunately, Archimedes and I are old pals, so I was able to move logs that weighed much more than my weight (classified info) and the lengths of which extended several times my previously mentioned height. I should tell you that Hunky Husband is more than willing to help; but, I take it as a challenge to avoid interrupting whatever he may be doing!
I took a while to get around to downloading these off of my HP camera that I use for close-up shots. First photo shows the frilly blossoms on our Dwarf Victor Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia Indica) planted in 2002.
The next photo is obviously of a daylily, but I believe that I mislabeled the photo. I don't recall what kind it is. I believe it was originally planted in 2010 or 2012, but it was moved to its current position earlier this year.
The next photo is a volunteer rose moss. My paternal grandmother grew some in a little patch near the house on her farm and I always loved them. I originally cast the seed several years ago and it has reseeded itself each year. The yellow seems to be hardier than the other colors as the other colors are not to be found, these days.
I started this post with crape myrtle photo and I'll end with a shot of the same bush from whence came the close-up, above, showing the non-dwarf crape myrtles behind it. The dwarf, from a nursery, was planted in 2002. The non-dwarf were on sale at a big box store at the end of the (selling) season that year or perhaps in 2003. I thought that both of the non-dwarfs were pinkish red; but, one of them was 1/2 white and 1/2 pinkish red. I'm pruning out the pinkish red canes to encourage the white, for contrast. One branch of the pinkish red layered itself, so there is a small bush (not visible, but behind the white) that I'm saving for Wonderful Granddaughter and Rachie, if they want it. If they don't, perhaps Jason and Tonya will wish to add it to the crape myrtles that they planted along their property line in the deep back
It seemed to me that spring had sprung about four weeks early this year. Well...I don't have a good year-to-year comparison for each year, but I can show you the difference between April 26, 2012 and today.
There really isn't that much difference since I expect the irises to be fully abloom within six days - except for the leafing out of the sugar maple tree that is in the middle ground just to the left of the ball-trimmed junipers. The sugar maple won't make the leafiness of 2012, I'm thinking. The 2012 photo looks muddy because the sun was having a hard time making its way through the clouds.
ADDITION of 4/26/2016 -
It's amazing how much a maple can leaf out in six days. Six days later, here's how things look.
Bogie had posted First 2016 Spring Flowers (showing pretty primroses!) the other day, on which I commented that I would try to post some photos of our blossoms, here. I mentioned the deep wine-colored dwarf irises' (a start of which I had sent her last year) being abloom.
And, I mentioned the creeping phloxes, the starts for which Bogie had sent me five or six years ago. The phlox have taken time to get established for three reasons: 1) Kansas drought, 2) my not watering them (plants have to really want to grow to survive my neglect), and 3) their frequently being disturbed by adjacent plantings or by their being moved - again!
While posting flower photos, I'll tell you about the ice plant. A few years ago, I planted two or three small pots of magenta-hued ice plant on the far side of the driveway from the house in which position they would get little water. Two of the plants did well, thriving there and blooming profusely. This year, one of those ice plant clumps is thriving, but not blooming. (No photos if they don't bloom!)
Last year, I bought a dozen or so small pots of ice plant, placing them at various places in the landscaping - but mostly in that bed on the far side of the driveway. Most of them died. After having the mulching renewed, this year, by the landscaping firm (Bogie "grew up with" the owner as he is a son of the woman who was my closest friend for years and years) I'm not sure but what a few of the ice plants may lie buried; however, I think they were long dead. Here are photos of the two clumps that survived. The one on the left is near the house/garage, in a position that receives overflow from the rain troughs. The other is in that neglected bed on the far side of the driveway.
Finally, some miscellaneous shots that I took. It was too late to catch the redbud trees in bloom, and the lilacs are several days past their prime, but, I got what I got.
Notes to Bogie & Dudette:
1) I've uploaded several of the above photos (and a couple of others) into the 2016 photo album on the left side bar.
2) I usually do my own mulching, but wimped out this year. Kevin's crew used 120 (each, 3-cu-ft) bags of mulch. Those young women toted those bags about as if they were feathers. (I lug them about like the old woman I am!)
3) I told the crew not to worry about burying ice plants. They are not expensive for me to replace.
Stu offered to send some rain, to help with the wildfires that were burning in our part of the world. He did better than that. He sent us snow! That's being a good friend. Hunky Husband had told me to expect snow over-night; but, I could hardly believe him. He was right!
The only flowers that we have abloom are the Daffodils, Narcissi, Ice Plant, and Creeping Phlox (our tulips are about ready to bloom). Since the Ice Plant and Creeping Phlox are under the snow, I'll show how well hidden are the Daffodil and Narcissus blooms, and then when they are out of hiding five hours later. The forked stick will someday be a Catalpa tree.
I had wanted to post about the unusually early spring we were having 1/2 a month ago, but was just too wrapped up in volunteer work. Here are a couple of the photos that I took on March 11, 2016 showing trees abloom at least four or five weeks earlier than normal.
We had a little, female Downy woodpecker (no photo) fly into the sliding glass door in our breakfast room, last evening. It was quite the impact! When I checked out the noise, she was all spread out on the porch floor - panting heavily, but otherwise looking like a goner. An hour later, she had picked herself up, fluffed herself up, and flown off. What a pleasant surprise!
Bogie has posted Last Rose of the Season that includes a beautiful photo of a bloom from her Queen Elizabeth bush. The Queen Elizabeth produces beautiful blossoms and I may even go ahead and buy one with such encouragement. However, the least I can do is post a photo of one of the three blossoms that are now abloom on our Spice Twice bush. The blossom has a couple of bugs on it and the leaves of the bush have abundant mildew (it's been a wet year, in general) but the color still comes through. A couple of years, our few roses have produced blooms up to the third week in November.
This is what our foundation planting looks like at the back of the house.
From left to right:
Sage is nestled in the corner that the steps make with the porch. You may recall that it has been there for probably 10 years. At the very right-hand edge of the sage is a volunteer tree - some kind of ash, I think; but, if the girls don't want it when they get their house built, that tree will come out.
The feathery stuff to the right of the porch is volunteer dill. Under the dill (can't be seen in the photo) is a red azalea. It gets plenty of water because that is where I empty the birdbath that is on the porch before re-filling with fresh water.
In front of and to the right of the dill (reddish bushes) are three Coppertina ninebarks. In front of the ninebarks are some airplane plants (Chlorophytum comosum) that will be re-potted to spend another winter in the dining room. Somewhere behind/around the ninebarks are some wide-leaved houseplants (nephthytis). There are asparagus plants at the foundation behind the farthest right-hand of the three Coppertinas.
The little "tree" under the fireplace exhaust outlet is a clump of redbuds that I've intentionally kept short to see if the girls will want it. If not, it will come out. In front of the redbud clump, and to the right are three spirea bushes - the larger two are one kind, the smaller one is different. I don't know which is/are Magic Carpet and which is/are Double Play Big Bang.
To the right of the spirea is a red maple tree - came free with catalpa twigs that I ordered and is being saved for the girls.
To the right of the maple are more ninebarks - Little Devil (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Donna May'). The green arc is another red bud that is destined to leave or die (no pun intended).
The far right variegated bush is an Ivory Halo Dogwood (Cornus alba 'Bailhalo'). It is at the corner of the house where the pinons were before I had to have them taken out.
Previously, the area had been a garden patch. At its best, this is what a portion of it looked like (below).
Finally, this (below) is the overview of the area as it appeared in October 2006 before the pinons and had grown very much. I see that it also pre-dates the sage, so the sage is not 10 years old!
A few days ago, I saw turkeys coming in from all directions. Some were coming across the street into our front yard. Eventually, 27 of them congregated in the back yard; so, I took a photo. I think the turkeys are all in the photo; but, don't ask me to prove it!
While I'm at it, I'll post more photos taken during the past week, including mums, sugar maple, and ginkgo from our front yard.