As is usual, no big surprises this week at the grove. An early morning visit was relatively bug free, but they are thick enough. It is June, after all. A few mushrooms to be seen here and there, and a little bit of moisture in the drainage areas this week. A sign of the rains that we had, but still a long way to go before it is still not too dry.
As is shown in this week’s pictures, the flower buds are swelling in preparation for the bloom, but there are still plenty that are tight and will not open until late July. This is normal.
And two different ways of procreation-sprouted seeds and root cloning. The germinated seeds will ensure genetic variation, and the root clones (the main way that this plant spreads) ensure more living tissue although by definition it is asexual reproduction, and does not vary genetically from the “parent.” Rhododendrons are not unique this way. Most woody plants, especially multi-stemmed shrubs-lilac, blueberry, many dogwoods as a few examples spread very successfully by asexual reproduction-most woody plants for sale in a nursery are “clones.”
The seedlings shown are growing in a natural nursery in the grove, and can be seen along the trail. It is a tree stump, and between the nutrients made available in the rotting wood, and the critters that over the years have left behind certain nutrients while eating something on the “table,” there are plenty of things to grow on.
The example of “root cloning” can be seen at the bridge where some roots were disturbed and reburied in the retaining timbers as the bridge was being constructed. New shoots can be seen coming up from the roots. How do I know this? Deduction and experience mixed with a bit of bullfeathers, that’s how.
Remember to be prepared for bugs when you come to the grove.
Until next week,