nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘seeds

garden escapes: vectors

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The term ‘vector’ has different meanings depending on the discipline. In university I took two engineering courses that occupied me in the study of ‘vector’ mathematics!

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In biology, a ‘vector’ is any organism or physical entity that moves an element from one place to another. The idea of vectors is used in epidemiology, in reproductive biology, and in ecology. When I try to understand garden escapes, I am interested in vectors for seed or vegetative dispersal.

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Once a garden is abandoned, the plants there will either die, persist or escape. They escape by way of rhizomes (horizontal roots), rooting of plant parts (suckering) or spreading of seeds.

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Seeds or pieces of plant can be spread to other locations by various vectors: water, soil, air or animals. Seeds, for example, can be carried along by water in a ditch, or can spread by wind that carries seeds on specially adapted seed parts.

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dandelion fluff 2

air as a vector for seed transport

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Animal vectors include insects, birds, mammals (including humans). Some of this is deliberate (a squirrel burying acorns) and some is accidental (humans spreading seed by moving soil from one area to another).

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squirrel as a vector

squirrel as a vector for transport of seed

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The various garden escapes I have encountered usually have their preferred vectors.

  • lupines- seeds carried through air as a projectile
  • orange day-lilies- rhizomes through soil
  • yellow loosestrife- rhizomes through soil
  • creeping bellflowers- rhizomes through soil
  • rose bushes- roots through soil; humans who dig up and replant shoots
  • grape vines – suckering, seeds, humans

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This is a poem about a human vector (me):

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paths to come and go on

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Old rugosa rose,

brought the stem and root,

across the ferry

from Grand Manan,

in a banana peel.

Every summer pale

pink blooms on an arc

of thorns, biggest hips

you ever saw. Rose

will outlast the house

and all who live here.

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Virginia creeper

dug From the river bank

below the willow

on Waterloo Row.

Overcomes the pole

and every summer

the power people

pull the creeper down.

Red in the autumn,

sneaks across the lawn,

started down the drive

and along the road.

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The staghorn sumac

pinnate leaves spreading

cast purple shadows,

give a tropical air

to the driveway.

Brought the root and slip

from the gravel pit

in Beaver Dam.

New shoots every year.

Headed direction

of Nasonworth,

last time I looked.

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34 Olinville road pink roses crop

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Note that this project ‘garden escapes’ is funded under a Creations Grant from artsnb (the New Brunswick Arts Board).

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All my best!

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 29, 2020 at 7:00 am

abandoned gardens: how they escape

with 2 comments

“… some plants will

persist, some will languish

and die, some will escape into forest,

or edges of hayfields,

roads and ditches.”

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34 Olinville road pink roses crop

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Escape artists. How do those plants we see in ditches and fields get there?

Some move by seed. Some by vegetative reproduction (by horizontal roots or by rooting of a part of the plant).

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lunpins Giants Glan

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A good example of ‘escape by seed’ is the lupin.  The lupin sets its seed in pods.  When they dry, the seeds are launched as projectiles and so can travel quite far in a single generation. 

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28 Olinville road orange day lilies

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A good example of ‘escape by vegetative reproduction’ is the orange day-lily. It only rarely sets seed. It moves along ditches or into other locations by rhizomes (horizontal roots).

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” … its names describe

where orange finds a home:

ditch lily, railroad lily

roadside lily, wash-house lily

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outhouse lily.”

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31 Olinville road orange day lilies

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In New Brunswick, you don’t have to drive far to see an orange day-lily or a lupin.

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This work was made possible by a Creations Grant from artsnb!

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All my best.

Staying home,

wearing a mask when I escape.

Jane

 

 

Written by jane tims

July 22, 2020 at 7:00 am

Gardening in my Veg-trugs

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In late May, I planted my Veg-trugs. Veg-trugs (available from Lee Valley Tools, Halifax) are small portable garden troughs perfect for a deck garden.

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DSCN0079.JPG

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This year I have planted three vegetables:

cucumber

DSCN0075.JPG

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zucchini

DSCN0077.JPG

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yellow wax bean

DSCN0081.JPG

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As you can see, all are up. The maple seeds around each plant will sprout and will take lots of time to remove.

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I’ll update on progress as the summer unfolds.

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 15, 2018 at 7:00 am

harvesting colour – mail order weld and woad

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The final manuscript of poetry from my ‘harvesting colour’ project is due at the end of October.  However, I don’t think these adventures with using natural dyes are ending.  I have enjoyed this project so much and I am so proud of my basket of home-dyed, hand spun yarns.

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some of my balls of hand dyed wool

some of my balls of hand dyed wool

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balls of hand-dyed wool

 

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I took a step towards next year’s batch of yarn by thinking about starting a dyer’s garden  (so many of the interesting plants I have read about are not available locally).  I would love to try growing some of those traditional medieval-sounding plants in my dyeing.  Weld, Woad and Woadwaxen – don’t they sound almost magical?  Most of the plants used through the ages for dyeing have the species name of tinctoria, tinctorius, tinctorium, or tinctorum (from the Latin tingo, tingere – to dip, to soak, to dye).

Examples of plants with ‘Dyer’s’ in the common name or ‘tinct‘ in the species name are:

  • Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) – flowers give pink or yellow
  • Dyer’s Alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria (L.) Tausch) – roots give purple-grey
  • Dyer’s Chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria L.) – flowers or leaves give a greeny-yellow
  • Dyer’s Mulberry, Fustic (Chlorophora tinctoria (L.) Gaudich.) – wood gives a greeny-yellow
  • Dyer’s Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt.) – flowers give an orange or brown
  • Dyer’s Greenwood, Woadwaxen (Genista tinctoria L.) – plant tops give a pale green or yellow
  • Dyer’s Woad, Woad (Isatis tinctoria L.) – leaves give blue
  • Weld or Dyer’s Rocket (Reseda luteola L.) – plants tops give yellow
  • Madder (Rubia tinctorum L.) – roots give red
  • Dyer’s Knotweed, Japanese Indigo (Polygonum tinctorium Aiton) – leaves give blue

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To begin with, I sent to Richters Herb Specialists ( https://www.richters.com/ ) in Goodwood, Ontario for Weld and Woad.  And I have Rita Buchanan’s book A Dyer’s Garden to help me get the best results.

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packets of seed for planting next spring

packets of seed for planting next spring

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Well, the seeds have now arrived.  Next spring I’ll find a sheltered spot with the right conditions and try to grow these two.  I listen to the tiny seeds shaking in their packets and wish for May.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

October 3, 2014 at 7:09 am

autumn black and white

with 8 comments

Roaming around the countryside, the weekend before last, deluged by color from orange and yellow trees and crimson fields of blueberry, I was interested by the contrast in the ditches.  A month ago, they were a riot of yellow or purple as the goldenrods, tansies and asters presented themselves, species by species.  Now, they are done with blooming and are in the business of releasing their seeds. 

To attract pollinators for setting their seeds, flowers put on a competitive display of color and form.  But dispersing their seeds is a different process altogether.  Many depend on the wind to carry their seeds to ideal sites for next year’s bloom and the wind is color-blind.  Grey, white and even black are the dominant colors in the ditches.

Seeds dispersed by wind either flutter to the ground, or float in the air.  Often, they are assisted by a special seed form.  For example, maple keys are flattened and aerodynamic so they spin and travel some distance as they fall.  Seeds of goldenrod and aster have feathery white bristles (called the pappus, a modified sepal) to help them float through the air.   The term pappus comes from the Latin pappus meaning ‘old man’, an apt description of the white heads of the flowers, gone to seed.

Another species in the ditch, Common Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare L.), also known as Golden-buttons, ordinarily has bright yellow flowers in a flat head.  Now, it has joined the black and white revue, showing black seed-heads against feathery leaves.

The seeds of Tansy, in a form called an achene, have no special adaptation for flight.   This time of year, these seeds are dry and ready for dispersal by gravity. 

 

autumn black

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dry leaves

silent

colorless

wonder withdrawn, into the vortex of

no hue, no delight

cones suppressed, rods perceive

absence, black seed in heads of Tansy

absorb all light, feathered foliage

 darkest green, approaching black

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© Jane Tims  2011

Written by jane tims

October 24, 2011 at 6:44 am

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