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… and Clematis paniculata getting ready to bloom.

Prairie cup plant — more properly Silphium perfoliatum — is a fascinating North American native that apparently is uncommon in the horticulture trade. (I got mine from Prairie Nursery.) It grows as tall as 10 feet/3 meters or more, with a strong tendency to flop about after heavy rains, especially when grown in partial shade — which, unlike most prairie natives, it accepts happily — so you need to give it plenty of space.

The name (both common and botanical) derives from an interesting structural feature: the leaves are stemless, growing in pairs directly from the main stalks, so forming little bowl-like cavities that collect rain water. In drier places than Maine, these reportedly serve as drinking cups for birds.

My back deck was an afterthought in designing this cottage. It has turned out to be a very nice place to sit at the wood’s edge, though the view has gotten swallowed by the rampant clematis which does, I suppose, offer a bit of privacy from nosy moose.

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