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Bittersweet

Gail writes:
Good Day: the quest continues to identify the plant in last weeks blog. Winnie sent in the lone comment; could it be some type of bittersweet? Initially I too thought the same, as I used the berry to try & narrow down the the options; but without success. While the berries offered a good start,
as master gardeners we know we must look at all aspects of the plant if we are to identify a plant accurately. (below is a refresher picture of the plant in ??) With not having much opportunity at this time of the year for outdoor learning, we (Linda, & I and a secret partner) have decided to make this quest educational….
Winnie did not mention which bittersweet. So let’s start with an intro: As you all know there are two types of bittersweet-the oriental and the native. Paul will be helping me with the native version. As for the oriental–all I had to do was drive around Bedford Twsp to find it—-patches of blazing orange dot many of the roadside ditches, making it easy to spot.

above: note the structure of the oriental bittersweet. An entanglement of leafless branches… an obstructive growth along the ditch banks. This plant is extremely heavy and if allowed to grow into say a nearby tree- it can and most certainly will bring down the branches in time. It is very prolific
and despite it’s fall beauty– is considered to be INVASIVE. It has become so prolific that efforts to rid protected areas of this plant are underway as we speak.
BELOW: the plant in question–what is different?? Structure, leaves–seed pods???

Speaking of seed pods—–let’s take a closer look. Here are two pics of the seed pods from the oriental bittersweet.


We will discuss the placement of the seedpods when we compare the native bittersweet…………
Let’s look closer at the seeds, compare the two the oriental bittersweet…….and the unknown

the oriental bittersweet seed. See the defined divisions within the seed pod?
Open one and you reveal a white seed in each divided section of that pod.


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Now look at the berry of the unknown plant.

Some very obvious differences I would say. Not just in color, but in the very structure. Open one of the berries on this plant and again we find one seed.

What do you see?? That seed looks an awful lot like the seed from the bittersweet plant. I think we can safely say it isn’t the oriental bittersweet plant but Could we be looking at a plant that may be in the bittersweet family??? Keep reading, together and with help from our secret partner; we can & will conquer this quest. To assist your research–here is another clue. This plant reseeds easily
once it lands on the ground; but performs as a ground cover before it matures into a woody shrub….(duh–never even gave that a thought). Here is a picture depicting that growth habit-the mother plant is just to the top right side of the picture.

With help from our MG member Paul who is well versed in native plants–we will
study the native version of bittersweet……..gk

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Identity Issue

Gail writes:
Does anyone know the name of this shrub???? When we moved into our home in 1977—the elderly lady next door,
shared how she and her deceased husband used various gardening practices (chives under bushes to cut down on mosquitoes). One of my earliest exposures to” organic gardening techniques.” among her many plants, one has survived the many “new neighbors” but I have never been able to figure out what it is. So I decided to let you all help me (PS I do not have a smart phone–).

Evergreen in nature–but not conifer insignificant-small white flowers, emit a grape smell flies & bees just love the berries which follow in the fall remind me of bittersweet- not orange….but white, and when ripe they pop open to reveal a bright red berry like seed.

The plant reseeds easily and the bush can get quite large thanks ahead of time……………..gk

Banquet

by Gail K.
Once again, we find ourselves at the end of our growing season. Most of us have prepared our gardens
for the upcoming winter season. On Nov. 10th we held our annual banquet to celebrate the fellowship
of the Monroe County Master Gardener Assoc. & Horticulture Club during the past year. I would like to
share with you some of the pictures from this event.

Typical of our potlucks there was a wide variety of delicious dishes to choose from Stella, Naida & Norma prepare the dishes before serving


Our president Doris, let us in a short prayer of thanks for the past year’s successes.



Did I mention the FOOD????


It was a nice time to mingle & a pleasure to relax with friends & to share in good ole conversation……
no meeting today…….just food, friends and smiles (full bellies)


Thanks to Jenny and Winnie for the beautiful tablescapes; the tables were covered in fall colors & anchored by centerpieces of colorful gourds.

Also a big thank you goes to Joan; who treated each of us to a jar of homemade pepper jelly.

As if all of the above wasn’t enough. Jenny made ice cream out of the paw paw crop from the extension gardens.

Below-
By the smile on Pat’s face, I am going to say the Paw Paw ice cream was a huge success. YUM-thank you Jenny!


An integral part of our banquet, was our speaker; Erin Hill from Michigan State who gave a presentation in her field of expertise-weed identification.



The group listened intently as Ms. Hill spoke to the various aspects of how we could control the weeds in our gardens, and how we could ID them to ensure we were using the correct techniques to control them.


It was clear that Ms. Hill was passionate & knowledgeable in her field of expertise. An excellent speaker and an enjoyable program.

In closing, here are some words of wisdom


So in closing out another year- let’s give thanks for all the friendships we have enjoyed through the master gardener program-the tours which open our eyes to what lies beyond our own gardens and to all aspects
of gardening we are exposed to via the various educational opportunities we enjoy.

HAVE A BLESSED THANKSGIVING, A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!
See you 2019………………..gk

May I add a Thank you to Gail for all the great stories she has contributed to our Blog. It’s been a pictorial scrapbook of great shots. Linda

Fall inspiration

AUTUMN IS A SECOND SPRING WHEN EVERY LEAF IS A FLOWER
Albert Camus

gk

Ruellia

Photos and article by Gail K.

I have had an issue with a particular flower and thought it may be good to share my experience. I am not sure where I purchased, but the plant marker had it labeled as UPRIGHT PURPLE-RUELLIA. Sold as a perennial I thought it would be an asset in my garden. Very showy it says-when in full bloom. NOT ONE THING ABOUT IT BEING INVASIVE. As far as I am concerned it is invasive in my yard.

It really is pretty, but I am finding it in every planting bed I have and it is not easily removed……….so I am just sharing this with you—before you plant this, be aware of what my experience has been. It has other names: Wild Petunia (Monroe County Cons. District sells this in native plants) and Mexican Petunia (Ruellia Simplex). Used for prairie plantings as it attracts butterflies… read that the wild form is invasive and on watch lists. I am not sure how you know if you have the wild or not but I won’t plant any version of this—gk

Scale

During a Work and Learn at the Demo Gardens, it was noticed that our Euonymus had scale. We thought it would be good to show a photo of it.
We pruned the bush back and disposed of the infested branches. This is the best remedy when it is so infested with scale. If you notice it quickly, when they first appear, you can eliminate them by simply rubbing them away. Other solutions include alcohol on a cotton swab or Neem Oil.

Cooking Squash