Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fringed Gentian

It is the week for rare sitings. Yesterday at work we were called to rescue a colony of fringed gentians from a gravel pit operation. I took my camera to work but forgot to bring it to the gravel pit, so you will have to settle for an Internet photo. It is a biannual so we tried to find some first year plants and we tried to find some seed pods. We did not take the whole colony but five large plugs.

The transplants are in a holding bed now and I will try to recreate their natural habitat tomorrow. They like a sunny location that is consistently damp but well-drained, which is why you find them in sand/gravel next to water. The site has damp/well-drained locations but they are all in the shade. I'm thinking about burying a large tub in one of the gardens with several drain holes with the bottom filled with gravel and a thin layer of rich topsoil. We will have to water it frequently but I hope the tub will help keep it damp. They have a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizae fungi so I took a lot of soil with the transplants and hope the fungi is present. I also determined that you can buy the fungi but there are over 2500 types of mycorrhizae fungi so it may be difficult to add this to the soil.

It would be nice to have fringed gentians in Gene Stratton Porter's garden as it was her favorite swamp plant and is mentioned in many of her books.

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