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”

Park Nature: Early April

Here’s a few seconds of rain tapping hundreds of umbrellas. Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) were one of my first wildflowers, and are still a favorite. The fat, green parasols have a cartoony cuteness, as if the Lorax grew spring ephemerals under his Truffula trees.  Continue reading “Park Nature: Early April”

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”

Why this sweat bee and I hate your mosquito contract

Carolina rose and sweat bee
Rosa carolina and friend

When I was a kid, sweat bees were the enemy. Now we are.

This little sweat bee is gathering pollen from a native Carolina rose.
See the yellow grains stuck to the hairs on her legs?
She’s likely gathering provisions for eggs laid in a teensy underground tunnel. Continue reading “Why this sweat bee and I hate your mosquito contract”

Nashville’s Mustard

There are swaths of yellow right now in Elmington Park: small yellow blooms massed in the lawn. I hope the city doesn’t mow soon, because the yellow is Nashville mustard—our mustard—and it needs to go to seed and spread. I saw it on the way to Hebrew School, and as soon as I could, I went back and parked the car in the lot, then parked my body flat on the grass.

Continue reading “Nashville’s Mustard”

John and Hester Lane Cedar Glade (6/25/16)

Yesterday’s Division of Natural Areas hike was at a glade new to me: John and Hester Lane Cedar Glade. Look what happens to a cedar thicket after a managed burn:

prairie coneflower meadow

I’ve never seen so many prairie coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) in one place.
How long had those seeds slept in shade till freed by fire? Continue reading “John and Hester Lane Cedar Glade (6/25/16)”