Sidewalk Nature: Black Cherry

Sidewalk Nature: Wild black cherries are ripe! Prunus serotina.

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Black cherry fruit (Prunus serotina)

We need more native black cherry trees, so come chew a few drupes and plant the pits? Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Black Cherry”

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Sidewalk Nature: Hummingbird weeds

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lyre-leaf sage (Salvia lyrata)

Lyre-leaf sage. Isn’t it a pretty name? And a pretty flower? But this is another of those “weeds” people poison and mow and pluck out of precious lawn grass. Lyre-leaf sage is native, it spreads by seed, it can make a lovely groundcover (a good native alternative to Ajuga / Bugle), and I just this minute learned it is an excellent nectar plant for hummingbirds. Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Hummingbird weeds”

Sidewalk Nature: Earth Day

Our kid is sick, I’m stuck at home, and it’s too cold and wet to sit in the yard. But, I have been able to get out for two neighborhood walks.
Here is my report for Earth Day:

Saw confirmation the Osage Orange tree we drive past every is a boy. I’m still learning the gender spectrum of tree species: some are male, some are female, some are both. Some have “perfect” flowers with male and female bits, and some trees can surprise you with twigs that morph into one or the other. Osage Orange trees are dioecious: either male or female (usually), and now I know not to expect fruit from this particular specimen. These flowers are male:

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Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera), male flowers

Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Earth Day”

Winter Solstice flowers

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henbit

Folks get sad with the short days and cold weather, so I need to advertise what might be a brief antidote.
Flowers.
In the grass.
In late December.
Henbit’s tiny purple trumpets, chickweed’s white stars, and ivy-leaf speedwell’s bright blue eyes are all twinkling from the grass right now in Nashville. Continue reading “Winter Solstice flowers”

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice came and went, and this time I marked it with fire, and even better, with the publication of last year’s winter solstice story. I am grateful to Chapter 16 for including it in December’s essay lineup.

Winter Solstice image Brichetto

Chapter 16 is a branch of Humanities Tennessee, and it acts as our “virtual Tennessee Center for the Book.” And lucky for me, they also publish original essays from time to time.

Winter Solstice is a short, contemplative piece, with lots of American Robins, sugar maple leaves, and of course, hackberries . . . Continue reading “Winter Solstice”