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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Late Summer Garden

I am obsessed with plants. It is my passion to plant them and see how they grow. I love to see what they look like as infants, as children, as teens, as adults and then as old plants.

I am crazy about their leaves, including their shapes, their varying colors, their unlimited shapes. I love how the rain pools on leaves and insects use them for homes. I love their smells, their waxiness, their veins as they go from large to the most delicate lines. I love to see how they live in harmony or how some take over others in the garden. Plants are like people. There are all types. There are many differences, but ultimately they are all very similar. There is more that connects them than divides them. It is a pity that we cannot act more like plants, but I stray from my subject matter.

I got a trial subscription to a plant identifier and for a few days this week I just took many photos of plants in my neighborhood for identification. Long ago, back at U. Mass when I was a plant and soil science major, I took a class in weed science. The professor had us go around the campus on weed identification excursions. Each of us was responsible for our own notebook which held samples of weeds. That class was probably one of the best classes that I took at U Mass, or at least it is one of the classes that I remember better than most. We collected weeds and from that base, we were instructed in the types of chemicals that could be used to eliminate them. My memory of these weeds is still there although all of the names remain mixed up in my mind so this amazing little app gives me a great reminder of the names of all of these native plants/invasive plants.

The photos that appear below are numerous, and many of you who work hard to have great lawns and gardens probably don't see these, but perhaps one of these photos will ring a bell for you. For me, these will stand as a record of the garden, the flowers and the weeds that are running rampant in late August and early September. These are the weeds that are stronger than the vegetable plants, these are the plants that feed the birds once plants and trees lose their leaves. I guess that we can look to these (invasive) strong plants as models for how to survive in a tumultuous world. Grow and keep growing.

Common Mullein- tall plant topped with yellow flowers. Considered invasive. Thick stem and hairy leaves.

Devil's Beggarticks (invasive, native to the USA)

Japanese Knotweed- One of the world's most invasive species. Getting rid of it is very difficult if not impossible.

Pale smartweed-difficult to control. beautiful tiny pink flowers

Jimsonweed- (introduced this summer to our yard by soil put in by the city when changing our sidewalks.) Looks similar to morning glory. This is a poisonous plant.

Staghorn Sumac-native to the USA, highly invasive. Used by beekeepers. a dye plant.

White Snakeroot-poisonous plant. Spreads through rhizomes. White fuzzy flowers.Native to USA.

Common Mugwort-Found in nitrogen rich soils. Believed to have aromatic properties. Difficult to control. Spreads via rhizomes underground. scent may be an insect repellant.

very persistent.

Bitter dock-large plant. Grows wild in shady places. Used in folk medicine to make dye.

White vervain-Butterfly friendly! Found on roadsides and fields. White flowers.

Tall tickseed- up to 7' tall. Attract bees and birds. Invasive.

American pokeweed- toxic plant. beautiful and vivid colors. considered a weed.

berries are a food for American migratory birds.

Bittersweet-invasive species. Climber. Red and yellow berries.

Spearmint-edible, aromatic and spreads like crazy!!!

Annual ragweed-invasive, difficult to rid. Large and strong root system. Causes allergy.

Golden raintree-grown as an ornamental, also considered invasive. beautiful in autumn.

Common blue violet-perennial, food source for birds and mammals. also edible. Flowers in spring.

Bracken fern-a single frond of this plant can produce up to 300,000 spores a year.

Evening primrose-perennial, flowers open in evening and close at sunrise. Native American cooked the roots as a food. Is invasive (but so beautiful!)

Slender yellow woodsorrel- propagates through rhizomes and seeds. Mildly poisonous.

Bluestem goldenrod-attracts birds, butterflies and moths. perennial. (magnificent and one of my favorite plants.

Oriental lady's thumb- (knotweed) Very persistent in garden and in moist spots. source of food for songbirds and beetles. Edible.

White mulberry- edible. prized for fruits. (very persistent!)

Blue wood-aster- a sign that fall is on its way! perennial- native plant. butterfly and bee plant.

Interrupted Fern- native plant.

Lady fern-ornamental- native plant. stem and fronds are poisonous.

Common hemp nettle-weed - can generate hundreds of seeds. attracts insects.

Asiatic dayflower- a creeping weed. Invasive. Blossoms (blue and beautiful) last one day.

Virginia water horehound-native to North America.

Southern Catalpa- (Indian bean tree) quick growing. showy flowers. long bean like fruits.

Common milkweed- the queen of my garden- invasive to be sure. Attracts many insects, including monarch butterflies. A poisonous plant. Has milky sap.

Lake huron tansy- beautiful round flowers, consisting of hundreds of individual florets. Very invasive. Used as an insect repellant. Unpleasant smell.

Queen Anne's Lace- biennial. My queen of the garden. Prolific and considered a weed. A wild carrot!

Common three-seeded Mercury- Native to US. Considered a weed.

Bitter dock-grows in shade. leaves and stems edible when young. roots used as a dye. overpowers other plants.

Bittersweet- (climbing nightshade) semi-woody vine. very poisonous. Very invasive. purple flowers, bright red berries.

Eastern black nightshade-also poisonous.

Garlic chives

Cypress spurge


We haven't even touched the grasses yet or wild plants that are more noticeable in the spring.

Here is a beginning gallery to go along with this post.

All information above comes from the PictureThis ap for the iphone. Photos from me.

More plants to come...look up, look down, look all around.

There are treasures everywhere.

Asiatic dayflower



Queen Anne's lace (wild carrot)


Lady Fern and Sensitive Fern

Evening primrose



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