Monday, April 29, 2013

Mt. Cuba Center's 9th Annual Wildflower Celebration (3 of 3)

False Indigo, Baptisia australis, was just poking up out of their prairie.

These should quickly open up into the foliage and the flowers.

They're doing a trial on a bunch of cultivars available and I hope to be attending the class there at the Mt. Cuba Center. It falls on my birthday, May 16, so it's my way of treating myself.

One of the concession vendors had a popcorn maker that looked like it may have been the model-T of its day. I got to taste a little and wasn't impressed. The popcorn was fairly flavorless, didn't seem to be salted, and they'd used caramelized sugar (which was burned by just a hint) instead of butter or canola oil. Still it was good to see and try.

Elsewhere in the Trial Garden they were still running their Heucheras from last year. I was handed a flag and asked to put it next to which one I thought was the best. Heucheras aren't something I'm drawn to as most of them are either wind pollinated or only visited by flies, but many gardeners love them for their wonderful foliage and diversity of leaf color. For whatever reason, I seemed to be drawn to this copper colored one, Heuchera 'Southern Comfort' and I wasn't alone in my decision.

The forest edge garden is home to many dogwoods, elderberries, redbuds that are actually red flowering, and a fair number of other plants I'm sure.

Directly across from this garden was a kids event. In years past they'd focused on caterpillars, but this year they focused on ants and plants that disperse their seeds with packets of elaiosome! Best of all, they were given fruit snacks for carrying their seeds through an obstacle course!

The Round Garden was filled with dozens of nonnative plants being used as nonnatives should be, as ornaments to accent our native plants, rather than being the standard in our landscapes.

An Anemone caught my eye just down the way, but I don't think it's a native one. I could be wrong.

Also on the day of the Wildflower Celebration was a Raptor Bird Demonstration. Here a Screech Owl was placed upon a perch for visitors to take pictures of. Later on they had this little guy out when they talked about them but I don't believe we ever got to see him fly (they're nocturnal anyhow).

This was a Hawk (of some sort), forgive me, we were actually shown five or six different types of birds and I can't recall the names of them all.

All of these birds were rescues or born with defects. And rather than having them put down they're used for demonstration and educational purposes.

A few of them got to fly around. Mostly this was to and from trainers, and various stands they'd setup for them to land on.

I think this was a Red Shouldered Hawk.

This was a Red Tailed Hawk.

Here is a Turkey Vulture. This guy was quite the character. Prior to the show, the speaker had explained their birds might take off and land in the trees or venture about the area a little, and that this was fine. Mostly these birds don't get the chance to do this much flying in a given day and when they do they don't usually have this much open space to practice in.

Well after taking off he decided to land up in a tree, and then instead of returning to the trainer he flew up onto the main house.

And as he'd done this, he'd attracted the attention of other Vultures in the area which decided to fly down closer to see what was going on.

He took off and landed in a great big pine tree, and the other Vulture actually came down and landed in it with him. And I thought this was all amazing.

Did I mention this entire day was free and open to the public?