Horticulture Highlight: Halesia tetraptera, Carolina Silverbell

April 30, 2018

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockleshells…

                -Mother Goose

Contrarian or not, there are many gardeners and non-gardeners alike who would find that any gardens grow exquisitely fine if they include Carolina Silverbell, Halesia tetraptera. This mid-size tree, 30-40-feet tall (occasionally up to 80-feet) is native from West Virginia to Florida and west to Oklahoma. When in flower later in the month of May, these trees are often profusely bejeweled with dangling white, ½ to ¾-inch, bell-shaped flowers, beginning just before the trees leaf out and lasting for perhaps two weeks. The effect of viewing a good-sized, leafless tree covered with white flowers often stops visitors mid-stride. An ensuing curious effect occurs as the wilting flowers fall within the canopy envelope creating a snow-like appearance surrounding the base of the tree’s trunk. (more…)

A Timetable of Migration at Mount Auburn in May

April 23, 2018
Setophaga Warblers Evergreen by Wenfei Tong

Setophaga Warblers Evergreen by Wenfei Tong

The month of May is when the peak abundance of migrant birds is found at Mount Auburn. In the following week by week timetable is a rather unscientific schedule of when you might expect the optimal time to see certain species. The third week of May is probably the week in which you could see close to 100 species in the Cemetery. This week you still have a few stragglers from the last days of April and the first few of the birds that come in the last days of May. Remember that as the month progresses, the foliage gets thicker, so the earlier in the season that you can find a migrant, the easier it will be to see it!

By the first week in May, many migrants will already be present such as Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue-headed Vireo, both Golden and Ruby crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrush, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and the following early warblers: Yellow-rumped, Pine, Palm and Black and white, Chipping Sparrow and Eastern Towhee. (more…)