lonicera japonica

A Somewhat Subversive Walk

Long-time minions may recall that Sigyn and I used to favor a walk to the small pond that used to be in our neighborhood.  You may also recall that some money-grubbing developer from the Big City to the South came and bulldozed away that pond to build some Large, Ugly Apartments.  I swore, then, that I would get back at him someday.  Sigyn can’t go past the place without mourning a little, for the trees and the turtles.

NO ONE makes my Sigyn cry and goes unpunished.

Today, on our morning walk, we have spotted what looks like a little trail that runs between the Large, Ugly Apartments and a small, remaining bit of woodland that’s too wild and wet to develop.  I believe it’s supposed to be a private walking path for the sole use of the residents of the LUA.

It is, therefore, very much in the spirit of a big, nose-thumbing neener-neener-neener that we are taking this path, to thoroughly enjoy whatever we can spot in the woods by its side.  (Since the human female is once again stumping about with her foot in an aircast boot, she is not very keen on going out to larger, wetter, muddier woods.  Sigyn and I may have to go without her.  We miss the sedge meadow.)

These are some very dense woods, and they go right up to the edge of the sidewalk.  There are all sorts of things in the understory–hollies, beautyberries, sumac, saplings of oak and elm, and something–look, Sigyn!  Do you see that small tree with white—

April vaccinium

… flowers?  Well, that didn’t take long.  She scurried up that thing like she was greeting an long-lost friend.  And, in a sense, I suppose she is, since farkleberry is an old and dear acquaintance.  It’s good to know there are still some in the neighborhood.

Stump.  Pause.  Stump.  Pause.  Stump.  Pause.  Norns’ nighties, woman!  You are slow enough in the boot, do you have to stop and look at every single blossom, as well?

I haven’t had my breakfast yet, and I might be a tad impatient.  But Sigyn’s having fun, so I will do my best to quiet my rumbly tummy and resign myself to our positively doddering pace.

I suppose this is a good place to walk.  There are purple spiderworts at the edge of the treeline and some wood sorrel and–sniff, sniff!–something very fragrant up ahead.

Ah.  Honeysuckle.

honeysuckle

Sigyn is delighted since it smells so good, and I’m delighted because the human female loathes the stuff.  Not only is it an invasive exotic, she says, but even though the nectar is supposed to be sippable, she tried it once and spent the rest of the night puking.  Ehehehe!  I’d have paid money to see that.  I wonder if the nectar is detectable if mixed into, say, lemonade?

Great Frigga’s corset!  What is that?

s-orchid2

The flowers make a double spiral up the stem.

Oh, right.  Sigyn, do you remember when we saw the orchids on your favorite outcrop in the next county over?  I think these may be something similar.  Go stand next to some for scale.

s-orchid4

Well, I suppose dangling is as good as standing…

The human female says they are called “greenvein ladies’ tresses”, on account of the green veins on the lower lip of each blossom.  What a fun find!

I shall place a protection spell on all of the pretty white flowers we’ve found this morning (yes, mortal, even the honeysuckle), and a spell of crabgrass, grubs, and pestilence on the boring mowed lawn of the LUA just on the other side of the path.

And I shall not leave unscathed the LUA’s gaudy advertising, afflicting all of their golden “permanent” balloons with an irreversible case of flopsia.

deflated

So there.

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I Don’t See Mint *OR* A Spring, Part II: Some Viney Things, Some Goopy Things, and … Stuff

There aren’t just little sand-lovers here.  There are some good vines for climbing and swinging.

The Alabama supplejack (who names this stuff?!  Whoever it is has been imbibing/sniffing/snorting something!)  has smooth bark and pretty leaves.

berchemia

It’s also called “rattan vine,” which is profoundly misleading, since it has absolutely nothing to do with splintery patio furniture.   The little green flowers on this vine aren’t very showy.

No, for showy, you need this one–coral honeysuckle:

nativehoneysuckle

Three guesses why Sigyn likes it so much.  We have met this plant before, when Sigyn proved conclusively that sometimes the red flowers are orange inside.  Today she seems content just to dangle.  I don’t blame her.  It is spring, after all.

Coral honeysuckle is native, well-behaved, and attractive to hummingbirds.  (Sigyn would like to pet a hummingbird.  I keep trying to tell her they’re vicious, stabby little beggars, but she doesn’t believe me.)

I, on the other hand, prefer the exotic Japanese honeysuckle.

japhoneysuckle

It has weird one-sided flowers that open out of crooked buds.  It’s highly aggressive, choking out anything that crosses its path.  The human female is allergic to its nectar, and she once spent all night barfing after sampling just a few flowers’ worth.

I plan to plant a dozen or so in her backyard.

Sigyn, what have you got over there?

Idunn’s little green apples, what on earth are those?

milkweed

Let’s see:  five sepals, five weird green petals, five purple

Five purple what?  And what is that tall bit in the center of each blossom?  And what’s with the goopy, milky sap?  Sigyn, I think you should get down from there–I’m not sure this one is actually from this planet.  There’s no telling where it’s been!

Or what who it might have for dinner.

Whew!  I’m sure this plant is much safer.  Sigyn, let the human female boost you up so that you can smell the flowers.  What’s that?  Sweet, but a little onion-y?  I wonder why?

onion

Sigyn’s not really interested in digging one up to see if they really are onions.  She just likes the way they come in every shade from white to purple.

Ooo!  Be careful of this next one!  It has spiky, spiny foliage and the enormous flower head is crawling with bees!

thistle

Upon closer observation, however, I can see that those aren’t bees but big, bumbling beetles just gorging themselves on pollen!

Speaking of gorging, I do believe it is dinner time!  Let’s head for home and see what we can rustle up.  We can always come back another day.

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