Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happiness is Planting Trees

Today I picked up the native plants from the Polk County native plant sale. Tomorrow I leave for California and grandson Kestrel's 3rd birthday, so I don't have time to plant trees. But I did. Couldn't resist. The miniature Western Dogwoods and Bear Grass in tubes and the wee Buckbrush in tiny pots will have to wait until I return, but the bare root Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock were begging to go into the ground.

I planted five hemlock in the redwood grove, thinking I had ordered ten. But there was only one left. Why would I have ordered six? I complained to Johnny, who said he'd seen my order form and was pretty sure I'd ordered six of something. Strange. I can't find the order form so will never know. I planted the one remaining hemlock in the Sitka Spruce grove, along with six of the new sitkas. The other four sitkas joined the Alaska Yellow Cedars.

For the last several days, I've been trying to key out the various cedars I've planted around here. I have a bad habit of planting things and forgetting what I planted. Alaska Yellow Cedars are planted in only one place so I know which ones they are; Western Red Cedar were planted here and there in the woods before I started the arboretum and now also in the Redwood Grove; Incense Cedar went with the Sequoias although there are some older ones in the woods; and Port Orford Cedars, which I forgot I'd planted, are in the Redwoods by the river (which is really Agency Creek).

With a magnifying glass and samples of each of the different looking cedars from our place, I have pored over A Field Guide to Western Trees (Peterson series) studying the patterns the tiny tree scales make. Johnny can look at a Western Red Cedar and say, "That's a Red Cedar". Or an Incense Cedar and say, "Looks like Incense Cedar to me." He goes by the form, the color and even the smell (Incense Cedar wood smells like pencils, he says.) I have a lousy sense of smell and they all look pretty darn similar to me. But I now, after hours of studying the underside of cedar needles, can tell them apart. Most of the time.

Alaska Yellow is pretty easy... the scales stick out to the side. Incense Cedar has a vase-shaped scale pattern. Port Orford has white x markings on the underside. Western Red supposedly has butterfly shaped markings but that's a real stretch if you ask me. I go by the fact that the tree scales don't point out like Alaska Yellow, aren't white x's like Port Orford, and are not vase-shaped like Incense.

I took photos of each type of cedar tree but then couldn't tell by looking at the photos which was which. I'll stick with the underside patterns. Together Johnny and I trooped through the woods yesterday and by a combination of his "Looks like a Red Cedar to me" and my examining the undersides, we found a mix of cedar types in places I didn't know they were. I need more plant markers.

It's fun to plant trees and even more fun when I know what they are. I don't have a clue what this yellow mushroom is but I passed it about a hundred times in the last few days on my way through the woods keying out cedar trees.

No comments:

Post a Comment