Sunday, June 19, 2022

Happy Father's Day

"The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature."

                                                                        - Antoine-François Prévost

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Linden Flowers Blooming Now

The linden trees on my street are blooming and the air is full of the limes-and-honey scent of the flowers. Aromatherapists use lindens to "calm and relax body and mind." I'm for that! Click to enlarge. 

More pendant linden buds ready to open.

Enjoying the linden smell and waiting for the rain to start again, I give you a poem. The lime-tree mentioned is one of the linden's common names. The last word of the poem is the place in Germany where it was written. 


Trees in the Garden by D.H. Lawrence

 Ah in the thunder air

how still the trees are! 

And the lime-tree, lovely and tall, every leaf silent

hardly looses even a last breath of perfume.

And the ghostly, creamy colored little tree of leaves

white, ivory white among the rambling greens

how evanescent, variegated elder, she hesitates on the green grass

as, in another moment, she would disappear

with all her grace of foam!

And the larch that is only a column, it goes up too tall to see;

and the balsam-pines that are blue with the grey-blue blueness of 

things from the sea, 

and the young copper beech, its leaves red-rosy at the ends 

how still they are together, they stand so still

in the thunder air, all strangers to one another

    as the green grass glows upwards, strangers in the silent garden



Sunday, June 5, 2022

Pitcher Plant Flowers


Click to enlarge this pretty pitcher plant flower. They are booming in the New Jersey pine barrens right now.

The ones I usually see are more purple, like this. One of their common names is the purple pitcher plant.

Odd, right? It's not hard for me to picture them blooming below a sky full of pterodactyls.

The leaves of the purple pitcher plant grow at the base of the flowers and are modified into pitfall traps like these -- pitchers. The plant grow in areas with poor soil conditions, trapping insects in the pitchers to supplement their nutrition.

The pitcher traps fill with rain. An insect that falls in is deterred from escape by downward facing hairs and eventually is digested.

The strange and lovely purple pitcher plant. See it now in a bog near you. 

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Happy Memorial Day


Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly, New Jersey. Click to enlarge.

Soldier rest! thy warfare o'er,
Dream of fighting fields no more;
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Morn of toil, nor night of waking. 

from Soldier, Rest! Thy Warfare o'er
by Sir Walter Scott

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Wild Orchids


Pink lady's slipper orchids, Cypripedium acaule, bloom in the New Jersey pine barrens from early May to mid-June. Right now! Here are some I found this week. Kind of pretty and creepy looking at the same time, right? Click to enlarge.

The lady's slipper flower smells good to bees and the big pouch has a slit in the front that allows a bee to enter. Once inside, hairs direct the bee to an upper exit that requires squeezing past a pollen mass. Tricky!

They grow in association with a fungus that enables germination and provides nutrients to the plant. After the plant is established it provides nutrients to the fungus, in turn.

Joseph Pullman Porter wrote a poem called Wild Orchids that begins: 

Under the pines, near the murmuring brook,
I know the wild orchids grow, 
Fair and pure in their shady nook... 

Exactly describing the spot where I found this orchid. Brook, shady nook, and all.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Wild Iris

Here's a favorite wildflower of mine, the blue flag, Iris versicolor. It grows wild in wetlands and along shorelines and has been adopted by gardeners. I saw this one growing by a fresh water ponds at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge on the New Jersey coast. Is it not stunning? I feel well rewarded for choosing that path. Click to enlarge.

There was a single plant, three feet tall or so, sword-shaped leaves, with one bloom. It reminds me of this from Wendell Berry: "I  dream of a quiet man who explains nothing and defends nothing, but only knows where the rarest wildflowers are blooming and who goes, and finds that he is smiling not by his own will."

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Happy Mother's Day


My mother was a reader, and she read to us. She read us Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when I was 6 and my brother was 8; I never forgot it.” —Stephen King