Friday, June 10, 2016

It Prickles

To hearken back to the last couple of posts... here's another weed that's started blooming, that I'm somewhat sad is not desirable because these thistles are quite lovely.  To look at.  They are decidedly unlovely to touch, and heaven help you if you have to pull one.   
They are also another flower that I find quite fascinating right before they bloom.  They get this green-to-purple effect that I'm just really taken with.  

Thursday, June 9, 2016


I am somewhat captivated by these purple coneflowers in their almost stage... Their skinny (and fuzzy!) necks popping up out of the surrounding prairie like periscopes, their Fibonacci spirals so prominent in the perfectly round disc, their petals so sparse and spindly as to seem, at this point, like a pale pink afterthought to the flower... they keep catching my eye.  I decided to try and draw one.  (I'm out of practice.  I should sketch more.  Mid-year resolution.)  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

In the Weeds

A weed is just a good plant in a bad place, really.  But the result is a bad plant.  Some of my least favorite flowers are blooming now... a lot of "weeds," including these, can be pretty.  A lot of people call some of the native plants I treasure "weeds" because they move into their yards without being invited.  But invasive species that threaten the biodiversity of the ecosystem... no matter how pretty they seem, when I see them, I can't get past the ugliness of what they're doing.
Here, crown vetch (purple) and birds' foot trefoil (I was sad when I learned that one was invasive):
Yellow sweet clover (with other clovers as well...):
And, everyone's favorite, bindweed.  Just try to get that off a plant it's decided to climb up...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Another Plant Muncher

Goldenrod cutworm, I believe this is... There were tons of them munching up the leaves of goldenrod in the garden.

Little Ray of Sunshine

In the language of flowers, coreopsis means always cheerful.  When you look at that color, you understand why!  Who could be glum in the face of such vibrancy and brightness?  

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Follow Up

Overnight, something (probably a raccoon) dug up and ate the turtle eggs I saw being laid yesterday.  I know it's the circle of life and all that, but still, I am sad. I was hoping to keep tabs on them and see the baby turtles, unlikely as that timing would have to be.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Pretty Prairie

I thought this photo showed just how lovely the prairie is at the beginning of June.  
The cast of characters is changing... shooting star has left the stage.  As you can see above, spiderwort and indigo have become numerous and prominent.  

In addition to the foxglove beardtongue pictured earlier in the week, other new flowers include wild quinine, shown here:
This I think is a smooth phlox, which was blooming last week but I didn't include a photo.  I said "I think" because I don't think phloxes usually have those pretty spots around the center, but I can't figure out what else it would be.
This flower is a mystery to me.  I spent a while with guide books, and Chris with a computer, and we didn't figure it out.  Might be we could with the actual plant, but with only a photo, no luck. 
I saw this huge snapper laying eggs.  And when I say I saw it, I mean, I actually saw the white, golf-ball sized eggs dropping from her body into the hole she dug.  It was really cool.  Unfortunately, my trigger finger doesn't have the luck or skillful timing to catch that in the photo. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Shrub Update

I noticed that the hazelnuts nearby had been being defoliated, like this:
I stopped and explored for a second to figure out why:
There is some sort of worm on them.  I searched for a brief time and got nowhere fast trying to determine what they are. 

In other shrub news, the arrowwood viburnum is flowering.  It's one of those flowers that has a smell that I find rather aversive, kinda stinky.  But they're pretty. 

For Dad

My father has spent a lot of time in England, and he loves the foxgloves that bloom in profusion there... fields of pink-purple and sometimes white, bell-shaped flowers, as tall as me sometimes.  So last year, I decided I'd try to grow some foxgloves in honor of my dad.  I got seeds, I planted them, nurtured them... they grew into lovely rosettes and then just stalled out.  I figured I had failed at foxgloves.  They didn't like the soil or the climate or something about my yard.  

It turns out foxgloves have a 2-year life-cycle.  This spring, my foxgloves have, with absolutely no input from me at all, grown up and flowered.  I now have a small patch of them in my yard.  Quite lovely.  I'll have to find out if they'll survive as cut flowers for my dad.  
In the world of native plants, the US native equivalent (if you will) -- foxglove beardtongue -- has started blooming:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Watch Out!

It's started... I'm being attacked frequently by vicious and persistent redwing  black birds. My new tactic is to take my keys, which are on a lanyard so I can wear them around my neck, and swing them like a helicopter blade over my head. It seems to scare them, and if it doesn't, they'll get caught or hit with it... And if they get through, they deserve to get me. Still, not looking forward to 2 months of fending off these attacks!

In other news, water lilies are blooming: