Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Everybody was out enjoying a warm and sunny afternoon last week. This cabbage white (?) female Falcate Orangetip [oh now doesn't it just figure? I didn't look it up and it was a special butterfly! The males have the orange tips, by the by] looks like it’s been out and about quite a bit already and on much less congenial days than this one was. (It’s nectaring on some kind of mustard. Think it’s a mustard. No, I didn’t try to ID the plant. More on mustards later.)

Itty bitty not-yet monkey balls!

Well, what do you call the seed cases of the sweet gum tree? I grew up with “monkey balls”… And I’m ashamed and astounded that I have spent twelve years in this place without ever getting out to see the sweet gums flower. (Must remember to check this tree again in a day or two.)

Sweet gum is a pioneer plant—it loves to be the first into disturbed ground. (This one is at the edge of the sand pile left when the house's foundation and septic system were installed.) Given that I live on what was once an agricultural field, I have sweet gum trees. Lots and lots and lots of sweet gum trees. And just look at the swathe of past years’ productivity under this particular one (liberally mixed with leaves, but mostly old seed cases). That’s one thing that makes a plant a good early-successional species: grow fast and prolifically…

A fellow walk-abouter out enjoying the unusually balmy April day. (Eastern box turtle whose amazingly red eyes didn’t show up in any of the photos I took.)

Probably should have cleaned this box out years ago. But someone was enjoying it. Although I do wonder how that side cracked open just so… Hmm.

A basic wild violet (again, do you really want me to key it out? ::whine::) has found it much prefers the richer soil to be had in a couple of my planters over the excuse for topsoil that covers many feet of sand here on the continent’s edge…

More planter volunteers.

No idea what it is* but it is rather pretty. It gets to stay until I find something else to put in this window box.

This is a native, and I know what it is! Blue-eyed grass, just up. This wee little thing is an iris (note the flat leaves in a flat fan-shape). How cool is that???

All in all, quite a lovely way to spend an hour, even if I paid for it with a touch of sun/windburn and enough ticks to keep me busy plucking them off for the next six hours... Having this little piece of paradise surrounding me really isn’t helping my hermit-like ways. Nor does it allow for much housework to be done.

Oh, well.

* ED. NOTE: Common chickweed. Non-native. Whatever... I still like it.