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”

Sidewalk Nature: Maple Flower Flurries

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male flowers of the sugar maple

Maple flower flurries.

No sitting on the porch with a teacup today: falling flowers flit past the brim despite my hand as cover.

This is one of those milestones of spring easily missed, especially if you don’t happen to live or walk or park under a Sugar Maple.
I love this moment. It helps make up for the maple flowers leaving, and the maple leaves coming.
If I pay attention to all the steps—from bud to budburst to flower to leaf to fruit—spring feels slower, more manageable, less panicked. Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Maple Flower Flurries”

Sidewalk Nature: Hackberry logs

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curb alert

Someone chainsawed a hackberry limb into fireplace lengths and left them at the curb. I watched these logs for a week. Every time I walked past, the stained heartwood at the cut ends looked like something different: a maple leaf, a cranesbill leaf, the foot of a gull, a Rorschach test. They reminded me of polymer clay, when you wrap noodles of color inside a contrast color, and then slice. Or like cloissonné. Or like pinwheel cookie dough. Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Hackberry logs”