conoclinium coelestinum

It’s December, So Time to Check for Fall Color, Part II: More Than Just Leaves (Sigyn Speaks)

We’ve had to walk a long way to find so many colorful leaves. But it’s a lovely day, and it feels so good to be outdoors that no one minds. (Well, maybe Loki has been complaining a little bit. The human female says that’s how she knows he’s still breathing. Rude, but a teeny bit true…)

Most of the flowers are long past flowering. This Goldenrod is wearing its furry winter underwear now.

One gust of wind or one good sneeze and we could have acres sown with seed! Acres of yellow next fall! Wouldn’t that be fun!

A few Black-eyed Susans are still out.

I hope the pollinators have noticed they’re here, or they will be lonely. : (

The Bitterweed is actually fairly common right now.

It flowers so prolifically that it’s hard to find a month when it’s not in bloom.

Not all the flowers are yellow.

The Blue Mistflower is easy to spot. There’s nothing else quite that color, especially this time of year!

Loki, look! What is that over there? It’s not blooming, but it looks…different.

Wow! The human female says this is a Grape Fern and that they’re not at all common out here. The leaves at the base are sterile, she says, and the sticky-uppy part is a fertile frond with little round balls of spore-producing tissue. Hence the “grape” part of the name. Hee hee hee! Loki licked it before she explained that…

Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness!

Buttercups! It’s entirely the wrong time of year for these, but aren’t they pretty? Loki, did you have something to do with messing up their timing?

We have almost finished our loop trail and are walking back along the Great Desolation (the water treatment plant right-of-way). Oh! We are stopping to look at this plant.

The random red and maroon leaves first attracted our attention, but now we are all scratching our heads trying to figure out what it is. It has pointy leaves and is very, very flat, with roots at every node. Whatever it is, there is a quite a bit of it. Since this is a disturbed area, it could be anything, from just about anywhere! I mean, this is where we found the white-flowered Bidens, the first record for this county. We’ve made a note to come and look at it in the spring to see if we can identify it.

There’s always something fun to look at in this park. I hope we can come again soon!

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A November Neener, Part I: Some Plants Pay Attention to the Calendar–and Some Don’t

The weather is definitely more hospitable than it was a month ago. The human female keeps herding us all outdoors for “walkies.” (The human male hates it when she calls it that and says he’s not a dog. I don’t get it–I think he’s making a popular culture reference, but I can’t be bothered to look it up.)

So here we all are, on the Neener Path, to see what–if anything–is blooming. I think I see some of the same plants as in our last Neener Update.

The goldenrod has grown tall and top-heavy.

That’s right, you virgate, paniculate composite! Bow before Loki, Lord of all Midgard!

The beautyberries are still very showy.

Many of the fruits have lost a good bit of their neon-ness–which is to be expected at this point, but still, nothing else is that color.

I am surprised. There are a few final, fleeting false foxgloves flowering.

That’s right, Sigyn, bid them farewell. They should have been gone by now and have overstayed their welcome.

The winged elms, on the other hand, ought to be thinking about coming up with some fall color.

They don’t have much to show for themselves yet. Sigyn is dangling hopefully and encouragingly. Another few weeks and some of the leaves should be good and schoolbus-colored. If not, I will Have Words with them.

The farkleberries are better at sticking to a predictable schedule.

Fill your eyes, folks. This is what fall color looks like around here. Some of the more seasonally-conscious branches have gone a deep maroon.

While others are pokier about selecting a new wardrobe.

And what’s with all the fruit?! They’ve been hanging there since May! I know they’re not delicious, but they are edible, and usually the birds eat them all up. Someone’s not doing their job! Add lazy avifauna to the list of entities I need to admonish.

The girl hollies are covered in fruit, much of it festively red, as is proper for November.

Sigyn likes hollies best of anything.

Gee, I simply can’t imagine why. Hmm. My sweetie is very photogenic. Maybe this photo should be the humans’ Yule card this year…

Here is her other favorite color. Campohorweed. Smells funny, looks nice.

Well, some of them look nice. That one looks more than a bit raggedy.

That’s better. Mind the barbs, my love. And remember that if you drop off on the far side of the fence, you are outside the Neener Walk and technically, trespassing in a reserved area. (The city has it set off for drainage–there’s a creek–and as remediation habitat for the rare Navasota ladies tresses orchids they destroyed when they developed a parcel of land south of the city. Not that anyone has ever seen an endangered orchid here…)

The late-flowering throughwort is all but past. Late-flowering it is indeed, but when it’s done, it doesn’t tend to hang around long.

It’s cousin, blue mistflower, however, has the air of a plant with plans to see if it can make it until Thank the Turkey Day, if not Yule.

The flower clusters are on such slender stems that even my beloved’s insignificant weight is enough to bend them right over.

It looks like something that should be in a garden. If the human female weren’t so bone-idle, she’d be looking for seeds to harvest.

And because she IS bone-idle, she’s decreed that the end of the path is the turn-around point of our walk today. I’m sure that, plant-wise, it will be just more of the same on the way back, but maybe we missed something and there will be Interesting Things to look at. We shall see.

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Here a Neener, There a Neener, Everywhere a Neener-neener, Part I: Reruns

We are once again making our daily constitutional an act of defiance against the supposedly private path belonging to the Large, Ugly Apartments. What floral delights are on display today?

Looks like some things we’ve seen before, for starters.

We have a few last, confused Evening Primroses. What is wrong with you? You should have finished months ago!

With the advent of (somewhat) cooler weather, the proper fall flora is beginning to come into its own. Some are plants that we’ve seen recently but which are now putting on a better show.

The Mistflower is nearly as exuberant as my beloved. It is breezy enough and Sigyn dangly enough that no part of this photo is in focus.

The St. Andrew’s Cross has cooperated with a nice bloom this morning.

(sniff, sniff) No scent that I can notice, though. You could put a little more effort into things, you know, Mr. Hypericum.

More Fuzzy Bean. It and Sigyn are climbing all over everything.

The Late-flowering thoroughwort, which we looked at back in July, when it had only a few blossoms, is just covered now.

The one in the human female’s front flowerbed is similarly clothed. It is literally weighed down with bloom and is nodding over the lawn–where it will spawn hundreds of vigorous and inconvenient seedlings next spring (with a little encouragement from me, of course.)

Finally, we have the brilliant, electric-blue Dayflower.

We never get tired of this plant. If the human female is nice to me, I might try to establish a colony at the home, just so we can have a glimpse of this color every day. Goodness knows she’ll never manage it on her own.

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Retirment, Now With More Neeners and a LOT More Dangling

One of the things the human female hopes to accomplish now that she has a lot of “free” time is more exercise. I’m all for exercise, as long as I don’t have to exert myself or sweat. For a Frost Giant, Texas in the summer is not ideal physical fitness time. (Why, oh why isn’t a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade a magical, fat-burning, muscle-building elixir? I should work on that in my free time…)

In any case, walking is something the human female, Sigyn, and I can all agree on, and since we all like to thumb our noses at the LUAs (Large, Ugly Apartments, the one a pond was filled in to construct), a Neener, Neener, Neener Walk along the path meant for residents of the LUAs is a frequent goal. Physical, botanical, and defiant all at once. I like that.

We haven’t gone twenty yards and Sigyn is already squeaking. What is is now, my love?

Oh. I see it. Blue Mist-flower. I agree, dearest. The flower heads do look like little pom-poms or tassels. The human female says the poofy, sticky-outy bits are the “styles.” She didn’t say what style, but I’d say it’s got a Boho-casual feel to it.

This yellow-flowered St. Andrew’s Cross shrub is one of Sigyn’s favorites. Tell us why, Sigyn.

“Its flowers are a very cheerful color, it has interesting shreddy bark, and it is small enough to be easily climbable so I can practice my dangling.” The human female says it’s a close cousin of the medicinal St. John’s Wort. Ugh! Too much talk of saints! I’m better than a saint–I am a god. Talk about me, instead.

More dangling is happening.

This pink-flowered Fuzzy Bean is a very common late-summer plant. It’s related to garden beans, but I don’t think you’d want to eat it. The human female says you can identify it by the fact that, “the keel is pointed and curved just like your horns, Loki.”

I am still trying to work out whether that is a compliment. Possibly I will have to smite her later.

This last plant is one that Sigyn and the human female have been trying to catch in flower for a while now. It is a Yellow Passionflower

We have encountered this plant before, in the local woods, but apparently they never get tired of looking at the blossoms. No blossoms today, but Sigyn thinks the fruits are “cute.”

We have reached the end of the path and the sun is growing hot. Sigyn, my heart, are you not dizzy from so much upsidedownness? Have you dangled sufficiently for one morning? Let us return to the house and work on that revitalizing lemonade…

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