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Monday, September 24, 2012

Mile-A Minute Weed
Persicaria Perfoliata
previously known as Polygonum perfoliatum L.

Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
The dreaded Mile a Minute Weed/Vine...so glad that everything doesn't grow as fast as this vine does or we would end up strangled and suffocated underneath vegetation.  It seems that as fast as you pull it out, it reseeds itself and spreads.  It needs at least 60% sun so you see it along the road, on the edges of woods and wetlands.  It will also occur in wet areas with poor soil structure.

It is invasive and when it shows itself in one's garden it reeks havoc.  It grows over top of vegetation, deflecting light from the plants underneath its mass and causing stress and ultimately decay of those underlying plants.  According to the National Park Service's website, mile a minute vine has  spread from a nursery in York County to locations as far as 300 miles away.

However, I had never seen the mature fruits of this weed.  I thought they were beautiful....especially since they were NOT in my garden.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Moth Mullein - Verbascum blatteria

Moth Mullein, or Verbascum blatteria, is an invasive biennial species native to Eurasia and North Africa.  On this morning's walk with the dog, it was blooming despite the Townships' previous attempts to mow the plant down.  In order to give you an example of the entire plant, the last picture is from the wikipedia.com.  My humble attempts at capturing the flowers are below...  enjoy your day!

Photo taken by Sphl.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wingstem, Yellow Ironweed - Verbesina alternifolia

Wingstem, Yellow Ironweed - Verbesina alternifolia

A beautiful native plant that is very prevalent this time of year.  As you can see, it is a haven for bees...especially bumblebees.  A member of the aster family, it often grows between 3 - 10 feet tall.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Impatiens capensis, the Orange Jewelweed, Common Jewelweed, Spotted Jewelweed, Spotted Touch-me-not, or Orange Balsam, is an annual plant native to North America. 

 A beautiful native plant to North America.... helpful in treating the discomfort of poison ivy,poison oak, or stinging nettle exposure.  Should you feel that you have been exposed to poison ivy/oak or stinging nettles, you can break the Jewelweed plant stem and rub its juices on your skin.  The irritation of the skin will be soothed.  It will not cure or totally prevent an outbreak but provides a natural way to soothe the irritation.  It is easily found in the damp and shady places along creekbeds or light shade part of the woods.  Blooms from May through October (or until the first hard frost).  Once you learn what Jewelweed looks like, it is easy to find and useful!!
Jewelweed, Impatiens Capensis

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Is it a Goldenrod or is it Ragweed?

During this time of year, the native yellow wildflower called Goldenrod is often confused with Ragweed and erroneously blamed for hay fever in humans.

Goldenrod, Solidago, is a native wildflower that has over 60 species. The pollen from these bright flowers are too sticky to become air borne and pollinated mainly by insects.  However, significant handling of these plants will shake loose the pollen causing allergic reactions.

Ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, is very commonly found in waste area spaces such as edges of roads.  There has at least 15 species.  Every plant has male and female flowers on the plant.  The male is the pollen producing flower that is on the tip of the stem.  The female flowers form at leaf bases or forks of upper stems.
Ragweed: Photo courtesy of Lou Ziska, ARS

A quick way to differentiate between Goldenrod and Ragweed are the leaves.  

Goldenrod flower and leaves

Ragweed leaves U.S. Department of Agriculture
Photo courtesy of Patrick J. Alexander

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hibernia Park.... Fungus...

Went on a walk today at Hibernia Park in Wagontown PA.  This picture of unknown variety of fungi doesn't look real to me.... it looks like it belongs in a salt water tank.
Never knew fungus could be so diverse and so beautiful.

Fungi have use in many places.  Of course, I am not happy when they show up in places like on my basement wall or on the last piece of bread.  However, most of us know that penicillin was created from the mold on an orange.  And, without fungi the important role of decomposition of organic matter would not occur.

Really likin' the lichen

Friday, August 3, 2012

Birdsfoot trefoil

Bird's-foot Trefoil or Birdfoot deer vetch:

Lotus corniculatus L. 

Driving home from Indiana University of Pennsylvania provided a new highway flower for my repertoire.  This pretty yellow flower is prevalent alongside the PA turnpike... its called birds-foot trefoil.  Planted by the Turnpike administration to prevent erosion, it is a member of the legume family and is very hardy.  It grows in poor soil (sandy or clay), populates in many ways, long tap root, and tolerates salt.  Pretty.  A weed to many but a pretty splash of color along the road.  The last picture is courtesy of the USDA website.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Water Willow or American Water Willow: Justicia americana

Water Willow or American Water Willow: Justicia americana

Yesterday, BF and I were on the banks of the Susquehanna River off of Gut Road in York County.   I was impressed by these wildflowers that were growing with their feet in the water.   As we scrambled over rocks and plodded through the shallow edges of the river, I noticed these plants all over the place... something I have never noticed before.  They really gave a punch to the otherwise gray day.   

Monday, June 25, 2012

LadyBird Johnson Wildflower Center and Origami

Wildflowers are so beautiful...and while visiting family in the Austin area last week, we went for our visit to the LadyBird Johnson's Wildflower Center.  One of these years, I might actually visit at the time of year where it isn't so blazing hot.  But this was not that year!  
The entrance to the gardens starts with this beautiful aquaduct system.  It is made of the ever present sandstone.
The grey corrugated structure is part of the cisterns that stores water that is collected by the aquaduct.

Blooming in many places including the LBJ center were agave, yuccas, cactus... 

 Growing and blooming in dry hot shade were thousands of "Turk's Cap."  Me thinks they are so jaunty with their fire engine red color.

Autumn sage was struggling valiantly to show off its long throated blooms.

 I thought one of the most striking native Texas flowering plants is the "Standing Cypress"

I suppose, that some of these cactus are so common, they don't even post names.  They still are interesting with their odd shapes, bumps, flowers, and spines.

"Wright's skullcap" is the color of "Chicory".

" Seep mulhly" brings that deep yellow into the garden.

 "Big Red Sage"

Red Yucca "au natural"
Red Yucca (looks exotic when you see it closeup)

Texas Honeysuckle

What I like about this garden, is their deep appreciate to make the  hardscape look as natural as possible.  Plus, they understand that to enjoy the totality of nature, its best to rest and be quiet.

In the cool air conditioned carriage house, there was a display of origami folded by Robert Lang.  He used one piece of paper and no cuts.   The objects were all about nature.   Birds, butterflies, flowers, insects... I especially liked the bugs... the details was exquisite!

There were many other pictures of flowers, but not today.

Some of these flowers are found on the side of the road...just fabulous!  Have a great day.