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Friday, August 19, 2011

Petulant = Productive!

Plants can be like little kids, especially when you're trying to make them do something.  Like grow on the green roof, for example.  When you put them in, you envision them growing tall and strong, with blossoms and foliage a'plenty.  Some of them, however, decide to dig their heels and refused to do anything seemingly productive.  You can almost see them crossing their arms and sticking their tongues out.  

For example, the sugarbowl clematis (Clematis scotti) crisped up and flopped over almost immediately after being planted.  We thought it was done for, the end, adios clematis.  See Exhibit A, below.

Clematis was suspected to be kaput.
Eventually they pulled through their tantrum and are now sending up new sprouts.  Maybe it was the peer pressure of the surrounding plants doing so well, or maybe it got tired of being petulant.

Adjustment to a new home:

Plants do go through a degree of transplant shock, particularly when they go from a protected green house or even a semi-protected high tunnel to a place like a roof where wind and sun dominate.  

Greenhouse life

High tunnel life

Versus green roof life

But many of the plants that had us worried seem to be recovering well.  Take a look yourself - if you walk through the Berry Prairie, look for the little green shoots or the bright green leaves on plants that indicate they've established their root structure and are giving it another go.

A new set of prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) leaves are nestled in the sun-shocked old leaves.

Oregon grape (Mahonia repens) with new bright green leafs, ready to shed its old, red ones.

Gayfeather (Liatris punctata) sending up a new sprout.

Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla patens) with a set of new leaves; adios crispy brown leaves!

Colorado Blue Columbine (Aquilegia caerulea) with a flush of green leaves.  The sunburn brown and red ones will decompose nicely.

Sugarbowl clematis is recovering well!

The green matter on the roof has increased dramatically since the plants were installed almost two months ago.  Compare the day after installation to yesterday, and the progress is clear!  We're happy the plants have settled in.

The Berry Prairie on the day after installation, June 29, 2011.

The Berry Prairie after almost two months of growth, August 18, 2011.

Written by Brenna Wanous, Berry Center

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