All photos taken at Isanti Pinestead
We found Climbing Nightshade, also called Bittersweet Nightshade, growing at the base of one of our Black Willows near the pond. It is starting to climb the willow by attaching itself to the rough bark of the tree. This is one more plant we wish we didn't have as all parts of the Nightshade plant are very toxic. The fruit starts green, turns orange, and then turns red -- all from purple flowers.
|Wild Cucumber is another climber that we are continually pulling off the trees (photo on left). Even in our light sandy soil you can't pull it out of the ground. It simply breaks off and then starts growing again. We tend to notice the fruit in the fall when it drys out and becomes a very light-skinned shell. However, we learned from WFMA that earlier in the year it actually does smell and taste like a cucumber. But don't start thinking salad ingredient as eating it can result in an upset stomach and diarrhea. (WFMn 303, WFNA 209)|
Helen harvests some of the dogwood growing along the creek each Christmas. She adds the red colored branches to swags and other designer type greens arrangements.
Wild grapevines grow everywhere around the farm. We do harvest some of the vines from the woods to use as decorations in the gift shop and also for grapevine wreaths. We harvest only a fraction of the vines available. It doesn't harm the plant as it starts growing right back the next year. But it does help the trees as the vines can distort and even kill them. However, the plants also spread into the Christmas tree fields (the seeds are probably carried by birds). In the Christmas trees we have to cut them out as soon as we spot them or they can turn the tree into a Charlie Brown.
The Hedge Bindweed is a member of the Morning Glory family. It would probably look nice climbing a trellis, but it's not so nice when it's climbing a premium Fraser Fir as in this picture. It usually establishes itself under the tree and we don't even know it's there until it pops out three or four feet up the tree. Our only real defense is to get down under the tree and clip it. It will grow back, but it is usually a couple of years before it is a problem again. (WFMn 275, WW 283)
The Wild Raspberry bushes are scattered, not what you would call a "patch". They are good eating, but very small and it's rare that you ever find more than two or three berries at a time. They are not something we want in the fields as they can interfere with the smaller trees.
We have Wild Roses growing in several areas, although our Christmas trees are starting to crowd them out. You would think that the pine needles would be good for them. We have little white roses in the spring followed by little red berries called rose hips in the fall. Although there can be many variations in color all of ours are white. (WFNA 477, WDB 245))
Speckled Alder is another bush that grows along the creek. It's fast growing and always wants to spread across the lane and into the fields. It is also called Gray Alder which strikes us as a better name because it always seems to be a rather drab plant. The green of summer is faded and the yellow of fall is muted.
Virginia Creeper is a nuisance vine that seems to grow everywhere on the farm. Interestingly, it seems that sometimes the vine never really gets started and other times it will grow aggressively up our trees.