Nature Blog Network
Showing posts with label rattlesnkemaster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rattlesnkemaster. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Baby Pictures and Other Updates

Spring marches on, and here are some of the floats at the parade today...
Some buds are starting to do more than just swell, they're turning green and scales are splitting. Above, serviceberry (left) and lilac.
Some plants are popping up green shoots, like the rattlesnake master babies shown on the left. And early flower-ers are getting ready. Shown here, prairie smoke buds (photo taken on 4/3) show their pink color. Pasqueflower buds are brown and fuzzy and I'm keeping an eye upon them.
It is a good time for hazels of all sorts. Here is an American hazel twig with its catkins (male flowers) swollen and enlarged, almost blooming. Two tiny female flowers are also visible in the background. Meanwhile, witch hazel is in full bloom, and the bushes are surrounded by a cloud of perfume... a sticky sweet scent that almost makes me dizzy. Sigh... the internet is good, but there are some things you still have to experience in person...

I found this egg shell today which we believe to be a mourning dove egg based on size, color, and timing. It wasn't especially near a nest of any sort (that I could find).
And finally... our first daffodils! These are extremely precocious, as it were... most are about 6 inches tall with no hint of flowers opening yet. Some are significantly shorter depending on sun/soil conditions. These blooming ones are right next to a building, which perhaps provides them with heat? (My uncle, 30 miles south, within an urban heat bubble, and steps from the shore of Lake Michigan, reported seeing daffodils over the weekend. My dad, in England... so thousands of miles to the east, quite a bit north, and under the influence of some ocean currents that obviously don't bless us here... sent pictures of daffodils over a month ago!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today's Discoveries

We had a lovely day at the gardens today, hot and summery but not unbearable, before the late afternoon storms swept through.

Water lilies are in full bloom, where they have them in all sizes and shapes and colors -- purples and yellows, peaches, pinks, whites. The insides fascinate me, they seem to transition from petal to stamen gradually, as though some petals are made of pollen.

Blue dashers were everywhere today, but they didn't especially want to be photographed. They still sat better than all the other odonata we saw, which I didn't stand a chance of capturing with my point-and-shoot.

Rattlesnake master... the plant with some of the most interesting leaves in the prairie, makes up for it with some of the most boring flowers...

Purple flowering raspberry is a lovely color and has fascinating fuzzy stems and buds. It also shows quite clearly how raspberries are, indeed, members of the rose family. But is sure seems a shame to have these huge raspberry bushes that don't produce edible berries!

Pipevine is pretty neat, no? I wonder if I could get some, put it in my morning glory fence instead of them?... Then I could get swallowtails, too, maybe...

This coneflower has just the oddest curly petals, I quite enjoyed looking at it. Like ringlets.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A New Reality (Show)

Baby rattlesnake masters emerged, barely visible, last week. This is how they look today, mini-succulents. So... funny story about these. Our 3-4th grade students each have one plant that they watch and make phenology observations throughout the year. A small group has this plant, and discovered the babies this morning. They were like proud parents, "We're having babies!" I suggested that they count the tiny planties, and at first glance, they counted 8 plants. So one boy said, "Hey, we're like John and Kate Plus Eight! We could have a show on TLC about our plants," (Which statement I thought was hilarious). Looking closer, they discovered some smaller ones, and they actually have 14 babies -- which prompted them to observe that if they could only discover 6 more babies, they could break the record (referring to 19 Kids and Counting). Honestly, that whole exchange busted me up. And I don't know what they will or won't get out of their plant phenology studies in the long run, but the fact that they view these little guys as their progeny, and feel a sort of kinship, makes me feel gratified regardless.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ablaze with Color

The prairie is jumping with colors this time of year. Here are some new prairie faces:
blazing star, not quite blazing yet, but starting to bloom.
butterfly (moth?) on false sunflower.
purple prairie clover.
yellow coneflower.
leadplant, a fantastic perennial legume that is actually a small shrub, with a woody stem. It blooms purple with orange pollen. I cannot get it to come back in my yard, but I keep putting them in...
rattlesnake master. Not a new face, but...
I thought the pinkish color on these newly opening Queen Anne's Lace flowers was really spectacular, although the plant itself is an invasive.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daily Updates

Something is eating my nasturtiums. I am not entirely certain what...
but I found this guy on the most eaten of the leaves (shown above). Leafhoppers are vegetarians, so that could be the culprit.
Cinquefoil blooming (unbidden) in my garden.
Water lilies at CBG.
One of many endless varieties of susans/yellow composites that are just starting to bloom.
Rattlesnake master is getting quite tall. This is a fun prairie plant for several reasons. The most obvious to a reader is its name, derived from the rattling noise its seed heads will make in the wind (later in the summer). The most obvious to an observer is its strangely desert-plant-like appearance. With its spiky, almost succulent leaves, it would look more at home among aloes and agaves than big bluestem and blazing star, and yet, here it is.

Goose babies are beginning to look precisely like goose mommies and daddies. (Can you tell which is which? The two in the back, slightly larger, are the adults.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


With the grey and rainy weather for the past couple of days, and the chill in the air, it seemed as though spring had stalled.  (Although I guess really, this is quintessential spring weather.  But it doesn’t have the infectious excitement of seventy and sunny, nor the abundance of newness.)  But today the sun has shown its face and the air, though not warm, is no longer frigid, and birds are singing.  Spring marches on. 

Today's theme is: organisms with names that can be misleading.  Students are often fooled and enthralled by the names of these things.

1.  Rattlesnake Master.  So named because of the noise its seeds make as they blow in the wind, this prairie plant looks like it might be better suited to the desert.  It can handle the cold, though, and it is an early emerger.  These little guys are between 1 and 3 inches tall right now.

2.  Killdeer.  Saw (and heard) one today.  The first time I was introduced to the killdeer, as a child, I had a similar reaction to some of the students who saw the bird with me today.  I was called over, "Look, there's a killdeer!"  And excitedly I ran, expecting to see a dead deer.  Seeing nothing of the sort, I asked, "Where?"  "Right there,"  But all I saw was a bird.  And then, I got it.  Well, I got to give some kids that very same disappointment this afternoon.  Killdeer are ground nesters, and their mottled brown backs belnd in to the mottled brown of a prairie with little new growth.  Nesting killdeer are definitely a sign of spring, but I can't put a date on it.  Due to my oft mentioned poor birding skills, the only thing of which I can be certain is they've probably been here for a while. 

3.  Cattails.  Nothing really exciting happening with cattails, but they fit the theme and I took this photo that I thought was pretty cool.