Sunday, May 30, 2021

Memorial Day 2021

Beverly National Cemetery in Burlington County, New Jersey.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

from For the Fallen (1914)
by Laurence Binyon
Have a safe holiday. I'll be back to nature blogging next week.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Linden Tree Blossoms


Linden trees are blossoming in my neighborhood. The air smells wonderful with them: bright, floral, sweet, piercing, lemony, honeyed, and delicious. Click to enlarge. I write a little something every year to note the event. Type linden into the search box on this page to read all about them and how much I love this smell.

Under a branch of the linden in front of my house -- dangling buds almost ready to open.

Here's the same spot three months ago. And a haiku by Kobayashi Issa that comes to mind while savoring the aroma of linden flowers in spring:

still I see them 

how they were ...

bare winter trees

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Pink Lady's Slippers

Pink lady's slipper orchids are blooming in south Jersey right now. I saw this one in open woods in the pine barrens last Tuesday. Click to enlarge.

Lady slippers bloom locally from early May to mid-June.

To celebrate their return, a poem by Wendell Berry, from Given Poems, Sabbaths II:   

"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 of his own will."

Sunday, May 2, 2021

A Walk In the Woods


Swamp azaleas are blooming in damp places in South Jersey right now. I saw these while talking a walk in the spring woods at Rancocas Nature Center in Westhampton, NJ, today. Click to enlarge.

Mayapples are blooming, too! The first part you see of a mayapple is the big umbrella leaf. The plant is also called American mandrake or wild mandrake.

You have to poke around under the big leaves to find the downward-facing flowers. Mayapple plants are famously poisonous.

Then there were long lovely branches of blooming barberry bells.

And sweetgum tree saplings just leafing out.

A lot of the little sweetgums had this kind of corky bark. Check out the protrusions and spikes. I've been told that this deters deer from eating the branches.

It was cool, quiet, and breezy in the woods.

Found a fallen branch with woodpecker holes.

Crossed a stream.

Made it down to the Rancocas Creek.

And found our way back home.