What’s in Bloom
A very proud moment for the Greenway: our first Praying Mantis sighting in the park! The Praying Mantis is a predatory insect that is considered to be beneficial to gardens due to their proclivity to eating insects that might normally cause trouble. Though they aren’t discriminatory eaters, and can in fact prey on other beneficial insects and each other, gardeners often introduce them into their gardens to control populations of harmful pests like mites and aphids. We were very pleased to observe that this Praying Mantis had chosen to make the Greenway its home because we pride ourselves in our painstaking efforts to care for our parks organically. Beneficial insects such as the Praying Mantis are drawn to pesticide-free environments, so we are hoping that this is a sign that our organic maintenance is being appreciated by beneficial insects, other fauna of the Greenway, and by our environmentally-friendly patrons!
Pink Fountain Butterfly Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri ‘Walgaupf’)
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Walgaupf’ is a lovely plant with delicate light pink flowers that bloom from early summer through the fall. We have two cultivars of Gaura lindheimeri along Congress Street in our Fort Point Channel Parks. Gaura are often called ‘Butterflies’ or ‘Butterfly Gaura’ because their four-petaled flowers appear to float in the wind on their spindly stems. Gaura produces shrubby foliage in the spring that emerges reddish and matures into green, lance-shaped leaves from which the wiry stems protrude. This plant does well in sunny conditions grown in well-drained soil.
Alma Potschke New England Aster (Symphotrichum novae-angliae ‘Alma Potschke’)
The Alma Potschke Aster has a showy, bright pink flower with a yellow eye. It can be seen flowering throughout our Wharf District Parks. This is a fantastic plant that provides good color in the fall and is a New England native, so it is winter hardy and relatively tolerant to drought conditions. Like Chrysanthemums, Asters can be pinched back in the summer to encourage branching and formation of dense flower clusters, but Alma Potschke has a compact form and is densely flowered without much outside encouragement. This low-maintenance Aster is also a pollinator attractor, as seen in the photograph below.
Beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’)
The southernmost bed of the North End Parks is home to our Beautyberry shrubs, which are now filled with clusters of vibrant purple fruit, hopefully dispelling any confusion about how the Beautyberry got its name. Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’ are deciduous shrubs that grow to four feet high with branches spreading to five feet in length. Small pinkish-lavender flowers bloom in understated clusters during the late summer, giving way to the showy ornamental fruit that will ripen and put on their best show through October. Easily grown in well-drained soil with sun to partial shade, Callicarpa is a hard-worker with few maintenance needs, though as it does flower on new wood it should be pruned back in late winter or early spring.