Friday, June 30, 2023

Seedy Life

This is all that's left of my marsh marigold flowers (Caltha palustris) that bloomed at the end of April. They are beautiful at this stage too, don't you think?

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Impressive Gem

I found a small round blob of 'jelly' floating in my tray of aquatic plants and decided to isolate it to get a closer look ... and I was amazed at how beautiful it looked up close.

I'm impressed with the detailed green edging - it gives an exquisite and unique texture to this blob, which has filaments inside. It's an algae called Nostoc (more commonly called blue-green algae), and can form colonies on the lake bottom, acting as recyclers and filters. They can metabolize nitrogen (i.e remove excess nitrogen from the system when it converts amino acids to energy) as well as being able to acquire carbon, so they are valuable to ecosystems and other organisms with which they may form associations.

To help visualize this tiny and impressive gem, I've included a photo with a millimeter scale below. One can hardly notice the textured edge this far away!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

A Package!

I found this wonderfully wrapped 'package' on my white baneberry/doll's eyes plant (Actaea pachypoda). 

I'm not sure who or what made this cocoon, but they've done a very neat and thorough job of wrapping it up, so much so that I can't peek inside to find out.

I kept my eyes peeled for the opening (or is that what the doll's eyes are for?). Here is the cocoon, with the dolls' eyes developing on the upper left of the photo.

I found a hole in it 3 days later, but still don't know who the occupant was ... I don't know if the cocooned critter ate its way out, or if a predator ate its way in! The leaf is now discolored:

Monday, June 26, 2023

More Beauties

Nymphae odorata, our fragrant water lily, always reminds me of a cut through, soft-boiled egg!

Sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) puts on a stunning pink display that is hard to beat along wetland edges.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Paddling Sights

Drifting on the lake:

Some tranquil down time for me

While nature's busy

Friday, June 23, 2023

Pollen Patterns

 Aren't these swirling accumulations of pollen beautiful!

I think they make quite appealing patterns

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Beautiful Beast

 What do you think this is? A kind of potato?

It's the underground rhizome of the aquatic spatterdock, eaten by muskrats and beavers. Quite an amazing pattern.

from Maine Field Guide to Invasive Aquatic Plants - Lake Stewards of Maine

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Barefoot Walkthrough

How exciting to have our wildlife cam capture this beautiful animal passing through our yard.

The date of this barefoot walkthrough was well over a week ago (June 9) in the early morning - I slept through this! We had no knowledge, either by scat, scratchings or pawprints that it had even been there. Not only do we have no idea what we're missing out on when we're shut up inside, but there is often no trace after the fact that we can detect.

Monday, June 19, 2023


"A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity."

- Nelson Mandela

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Not a Maple

 This is the magnificent maple leaf viburnum - a spectacular shrub that has come up spontaneously in my yard. Its leaves look very maple-like, hence its name Viburnum acerifolium

It sports a spectacular head of florets, and attracts many insects. Its fruits are also a draw for many birds.

It is shade tolerant, low maintenance, and has no serious insect or disease issues. A winner!

Friday, June 16, 2023

Winged Magnificence

We ought to be making stained glass windows that copy nature's unique and beautiful patterns. The intricacies in this crane fly's wing are superb - I particularly like the pattern on the leading edge.

It sat patiently on my knee for this close up

Thursday, June 15, 2023


So much to admire and appreciate in a native yard - wild columbines in raindrop glory!

And at the water's edge, this eye-popping blue flag iris

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

New Discovery!

I discovered a completely new plant in my garden bed this week, one I had not planted myself. It is, in fact, a plant one cannot deliberately plant or transplant since it is parasitic and requires a complex set of conditions to get its seeds to germinate. The seeds start growing when they detect the chemical signature from a host plant! For real, this is not science fiction - the seeds remain dormant in the soil for years until the conditions are exactly right.

This is what the broomrape, or cancer root, (Orobanche uniflora) looks like

Its stems are pretty anemic-looking but that is because the plant doesn't have chlorophyll to photosynthesize for itself. It relies on nearby plants in the aster, goldenrod and saxifrage families for nourishment - its roots attach to the roots of the host from which it gleans its food. This process also depends on certain fungi being present to enable it to draw nutrients from the host.


Wow! Pretty complicated, but so interesting! And I'm so excited to have this exotic(!) North American native pop up in my garden. It feels like a compliment.

I'm thrilled!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

3rd Anniversary

On the 3rd anniversary of my blog I challenge you to find 3 of something in each of these 3 photos




Monday, June 12, 2023

Rainy Days

What do YOU do on rainy days, when it drips and dribbles throughout the day?

It's a perfect time for harvesting and transplanting the seedlings that are coming up in less than ideal places. I've been finding and transplanting blue lobelia, closed gentian, joe pye weed, milkweed, boneset, black-eyed susans, ferns and wild geraniums that had self sown into my lawn. They come out so easily, without root damage or stem breakages while the ground is soft.

What a lovely harvest! And they're not stressed after their move in these damp conditions.

Brrrr, my toes and fingertips have been getting quite cold doing this task. But, it's always satisfying.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

A Rush

Slow down, take a look:

Lateral inflorescence

Of a lovely rush.

(Probably Juncus effusus)

The mature flowers looks like this