A journey into the eyes and mind of a naturalist.

Posts tagged “bee balm

Year in my Yard: Beginning of the End

Today is hot and humid and the last thing most people are thinking about is snow and ice.  Plants, however, operate on a different timeline.  Even though it is simply uncomfortable to be outside many of the flowers that are blooming now will continue to bloom right through to the first frosts of fall.  There aren’t going to be the explosions of flowers like we had in May and April, instead many of the final flowers of the season are in full bloom for as long as the weather will permit.

Those flowers who do not bloom until the frost will go to seed and supply enough energy for the seed to produce the next generation the following summer.  As we sweat through the day just waiting for the heat to lift the plants all around us are already preparing for next year, thinking well beyond their own lives to ensure the perpetuation of their species.  Perhaps we have quite a bit to learn from the humble flowers that bring us so much joy and beauty.

 

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July 11:  Yellow Echinacea

 

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July 11:  Mums

 

Woodmint

July 11:  Woodmint

 

Ligularia stenocephala ‘The Rocket’

July 14:  Ligularia stenocephala “The Rocket”

 

 

Smartweed

July 15:  Smartweed

 

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July 15:  Joe Pye Weed

 

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July 17:  Liatris

 

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July 19: Bull Thistle

 

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July 19:  Pearly Everlasting

 

Brown Eyed Susan

July 19: Brown Eyed Susan

 

Bee Balm (native)

July 19:  Bee Balm (native)

 

Mountain Mint

July 19:  Mountain Mint

 

Goldenrod

July 22:  Goldenrod

 

Vervain

July 22: Vervain

 

oregano

July 22:  Oregano

 

Peppermint

July 22:  Peppermint

 

Leopard Lily

August 1:  Leopard Lily (actually in the iris family)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Year in my Yard: Ditch Weeds and Hitchhikers

When I hear the word “flower” it brings to mind the day lilies, tulips, cone flowers and the other traditional flowers.  We tend to think of flowers as objects of beauty rather than the functional sex organs that they are.  We look out the window speeding past millions of sex organs, plain as day, in the ditches throughout the world.  We even consume the immature sex organs of many different plants (your broccoli will never look the same).

My point is, flowers may seem intricately beautiful as if place here only for our pleasure, when in reality, they serve only to perpetuate the plant species in the most efficient manner possible.

So here are some of those sex organs that we see baring it all on the highway and others who want to get intimately close to you.  Enjoy!

Curly Dock

June 21:  Curly Dock

Curly dock has these very simple flower head that will turn into a heavy head of dark brown seeds that look almost like tobacco.  I see these all over the roads here in Minnesota but have never known exactly what it was.

 

 

White Avens

June 29:  White Avens

On the road of life, there are hitchhikers.  Seeds will do best when they can get away from their parents.  This leads to the samaras, or helicopters, on the maples, the light fluff of a dandelion or even the buoyant nature of a coconut.  Other plants have a different strategy.  The White Avens, pictured above, produces hook like seeds that will attach themselves to any passerby.  I found this plant on a well-traveled deer trail in my backyard, quite literally a highway.

 

Burdock

June 30:  Burdock

Here is the king of all the plant hitchhikers, the burdock.  The little-hooked barbs of the seed are already formed on the flower.  These aggressive seeds will create large mats of hair in any mammal unlucky enough to get snagged.  I once found coyote tracks on my ice covered pond and you could clearly see where it had stopped and wiggled to remove 6 burdocks from its hindquarters, leaving only the seeds and a little hair behind.  An annoyance for the coyote was free transportation for the burdock.

 

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June 30:  Virginia Stickseed

This small flower is another hitchhiker with the surname of stickseed (you know it means business).  The seeds produced by the stickseed are small sticky burrs.  The stem branches are nearly perpendicular to the ground and each branch is covered with tiny sticky seeds ready to hitch a free ride.

 

 

Not all plants we commonly see on the side of the road are hitchhikers, some simply take advantage of the good sun and reduce competition from habitual mowing.

 

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June 30:  Yarrow

 

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June 30: Pink Clover

Here are two examples of flowers in my yard that are common on roadsides as well.  Unlike the hitchhikers these two thrive in the semi-maintained ditches across the Midwest because they offer the right light and reduced competition.

 

To finish here are a couple more pictures that don’t necessarily fit this theme but still need to be documented for my Year in my Yard project to document all the flowers on my property.  Enjoy!

 

lady's Mantle

June 29:  Lady’s Mantle

Bee Balm

June 29: Bee Balm

Golden Alexander

June 29:  Golden Alexander

hydrangea

June 30:  Hydrangea

Sage2

June 30: Sage