Southern Magnolia (shed cycle)

Magnolia grandiflora leaves

Dead Southern Magnolia leaves are as much a sign of spring as are the big, white bowls in bloom above them right now. Continue reading “Southern Magnolia (shed cycle)”

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Driveway Hoverfly

hover fly
hoverfly

Here’s a “driveway moment,” but not the National Public Radio kind:*

After hovering around our faces for a comically long time, this little hoverfly decided the most attractive thing in the driveway was the eraser of a new Ticonderoga pencil. It hugged the pink tip while we examined it (such big eyes you have!), while we took photos, while we passed it between us, and even after we had to set the pencil on a rock because our hands had gotten tired.
Continue reading “Driveway Hoverfly”

Snowberry Clearwing Caterpillar

Snowberry Clearwing. Sounds like a unicorn name, doesn’t it?  But it’s a type of sphinx moth—Hemaris diffinis—and before it becomes a moth, it’s a caterpillar. The caterpillar even has a single “horn,” though fake (to scare predators) and situated on the rear (to confuse predators). Continue reading “Snowberry Clearwing Caterpillar”

Passionvine Family Planning

Passiflora incarnata
Passiflora incarnata

I post pics of my volunteer Passionvine every year. (Passiflora incarnata.) I’ve talked about the extravagant exoticism of this native flower, the Christian symbolism devised by early missionaries, the fact that it is Tennessee’s official state wildflower, that it is the host plant for Gulf Fritillary butterflies, and that the wrinkly yellow fruit is delish. But I’ve just learned something new: the flowers are smart. Continue reading “Passionvine Family Planning”

Driveway-Crack Flowers: Evening Primrose

Evening primrose
Evening primrose

Today’s native flower pic is courtesy of our accidental driveway-crack garden. This Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) was a volunteer rosette sprouting beneath the water barrel last summer, and now it is so tall I wonder if my bats might be swooping down to gulp the moths that pollinate it at night. Continue reading “Driveway-Crack Flowers: Evening Primrose”