oenothera speciosa

A Whole Walkful of Tiny, Pretty Things! (Sigyn Speaks)

Oh, my goodness! The weather has been just beautiful lately! The mornings are nice and cool and the afternoons are sunny and the flowers are just loving it! (Some rain hasn’t hurt, either!)

The human female and I are going for a walk around the neighborhood just to see what’s up. It’s too late for bluets : ( but there is sure to be something nice.

Starting with our very own lawn!

The evening primroses are pinker than they look in the photo, and they are everywhere!

So is the lyre-leaf sage. The ones coming up around the corner by the hose are nearly white, but the ones that have popped up in the lawn are purple, purple, purple.

What’s even nicer is that they’re perennial! Where they are this year, they are very likely to be again next year. When they’re done flowering, I will help the human female transplant them into the flower bed so they don’t get mowed.

That’s what’s good about the spring flora. A lot of it is short enough to pass under a mower largely unscathed. I can see the winecups in the grass of the park before we even get there.

You’d think the bright fuchsia would clash with the nearly-orange scarlet pimpernel (hee hee hee! I almost wrote “pumpernickel”!) but it doesn’t. It just makes a sort of earthbound fiesta.

The blue-eyed grass is open from about midday onwards.

The flowers are always a purply-blue, but in its miniature cousin, the flowers can be yellow, pink, lavender, pale blue, or a sort of bright arctic white, usually with a maroonish eye-ring.

They like a sandy soil, and so do herb sherard and the dwarf dandelions.

Whole sections of the lawn here are lavender and yellow orange. I just never get tired of the dwarf dandelions!

Another sand lover is this eny-weeny member of the carnation family.

I think it’s thyme-leaved sandwort, but I will have to pick a flower and take it home to key out, because there are several species that all look very much alike.

Speaking of itty-bitty white things, look at this dogshade!

It looks like lace, doesn’t it? A lot of the carrot family plants have flowers like this. It’s a good year for this plant–I’m seeing it everywhere! And do you know what? The flowers are sweetly scented! There is enough of it that you can smell these plants just walking by!

We’ve gone around the whole block now and I think we’ve seen just about ev—-

Ooooh! What’s that yellow up ahead?!

You could be forgiven for thinking this is one of the bur-clovers or sweet-clovers, but it’s one of the true clovers, specifically low hop clover, an introduction from Europe. The flowers fade and get all paper-baggy as they age. I like it not only because it’s such a cheerful color, but because the leaflets are heart-shaped and fold up to look like green snowflakes! I just want to give it a hug! But I won’t hug the little barley by my left hand, because it has long awns and is on the far end of the poke-you-in-the-eye scale.

Oh, haven’t we had just the BEST walk? Thanks for coming with me, and always remember to keep an eye on the ground, because you never know what precious jewels will be hidden down there!

: )

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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Free At Last! Neener-neener-neener! Part I: Flower in a Crannied Wall, etc.

Released from self-quarantine, the humans have lost no time in going for a walk.  This is a good thing, both for morale and because their legs were in a fair way of becoming atrophied, and the mental image of them flopping about the house like a pair of beached sea lions is one I don’t care to dwell upon.

Ah. The human female has made a botanist line (like a bee-line, but with even more stops to look at plants) straight for the Neener-neener-Neener trail, just to see what is going on here.

Part of the walkway is bordered by a masonry wall, and all sorts of vegetation has established itself in the nooks and crannies.

This over-exposed composite is horseweed.

calyptocarpus

And here are some VERY late evening primroses.

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Oh, now this is fun!  This ground cherry, with its inflated, Chinese-lantern fruits, is big enough for a good dangle.

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I just like to pop the balloony fruits.

Sigyn says this is one we want to come back for.  Farkleberry, midway between white flowers and blue-black fruit.

vaccinium

They’re edible, though they’re a little seedy and dry.  More of a nature snack and less of something you’d collect on purpose to make pie.

This peppervine is clambering over everything. (And Sigyn is clambering over it, which makes her the Supreme Clamberer!)

ampelopsis

Those berries will be purply black when mature.  Sadly, not edible, though I’ve a mind to come back and gather some when they’re ripe.  They will look beautiful in the human female’s fruit salad!

The fruits on this pokeweed won’t be edible, either, but I’ve heard it said you can make a fine dye out of them. 

phytolacca

The leaves are definitely toxic, though that doesn’t stop humans from eating them.  How many of the idiots perished before they figured out that you have to boil them multiple times in multiple changes of  water before they’re safe?

Then there’s this nightshade

solanum

Too bad these fruits aren’t ripe yet, either.  They’re blue-black when they are, and it would be as easy as anything to slip them into the human female’s blueberries.  Mischief–it’s what’s for breakfast!

>|: [

 

Botany Lessons Before Breakfast

After a string of miserably warm and humid mornings on which NO ONE, myself least of all, wanted to get up and go for a walk that would have left the humans sweating* before we reached the end of the front walk, we have been graced by a slightly cooler dawn, so we are seizing the opportunity to get a little exercise.

We are making a short detour from the mile loop the humans call “The Long Block” and are exploring a little side street where the houses are still under construction.  Be careful, Sigyn!  There could be nails and bits of glass and broken masonry!

new lot

Odin’s eyepatch!  The side-yard-to-be is a veritable jungle of foliage and bloomery!

Most noticeable is something the human female says is called Johnsongrass.  It’s good for a dangle.

johnsongrass

See if you can shake some of that grass pollen over the human female.  She’s allergic and it’s fun to watch her eyes swell up.

There are sunflowers, though not so many nor so tall as the ones at the house.

sunflower

(The ones at the house are particularly hulking this year, and I took great pains to make sure they came up so close to the driveway that the human female has to choose between thrashing her way through them and becoming covered in pollen and chaffy bits or climbing in through the passenger side.   It never gets old.)

The black-eyed Susans are similar, but much more nearly Sigyn-sized.

rudbeckia2

Hmm.  Red, yellow, brown… Look, my love, they’re Sigyn-colored too!

As you might expect in a weedy patch, there are thistles.

thistle

Sigyn says the flower heads remind her of fireworks.  I suppose I can see that.

Let’s see what else is here.  False dandelion..

pyrrhopappus

More yellow.  This one’s partridge pea.

partridgepea

The human female says it used to bloom in late summer and early fall, but now it blooms beginning in June.  I am so weary of her whining about climate change.  Would you like me to call down Fimbulwinter, mortal?  Is that what you want?  Keep complaining and I just might.

Ehehehe!  Sigyn has discovered that partridge peas are a little too bendy to be good for dangles.

partridgepea2

But if I do a little spell that will hold the stem, they do just fine.

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Ah. Evening primroses.  Like the kind that were in the lawn at home.

oenothera

Sigyn and the human female are very excited.  Apparently there are some more unusual plants here too.

Yellow puff is a funny bean with poofy yellow flower clusters and leaves that close up if you touch them.

neptunia

Look, Sigyn, there it goes!  Do another one!  Do another one!

These white flowers belong to a sweet clover that should have finished flowering months ago.

melilotus

That’s Texas vervain (lavender) down below.

The little dark fruits don’t look like legumes, but technically, they are.

melilotus dangle

The human female has identified this scruffy, not-very-showy plant as goosefoot.

goosefoot

If I ever had a good with feet shaped like those leaves, I would take him to a veterinary podiatrist.

The plants are getting smaller and smaller.  This is my beloved in a patch of new western ragweed plants.

cyclospermum

And the little thread-leaved thing on the left enjoys the completely ridiculous moniker of slim-lobe celery.

This one little lot is quite the botanical bonanza.  I’m sure whatever the builder and eventual tenants plant won’t be half as interesting.

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*I don’t sweat.  Frost Giants just don’t, but heat does tend to make us testy.  Sigyn definitely doesn’t sweat.  Her hair may get just the teensiest bit frizzy in hot, humid weather, but otherwise she remains gorgeous and cheerful.  Seriously.  She is perfect.

Pretty…Pretty…Also Pretty (But Sigyn is Prettiest)

This is the time of year when the yard yields many wonders.  It is also not too warm yet, so come, Sigyn, let us explore!  (Read:  Let us sneak out of the house before the human female asks us to do chores.  Her being home all day is getting to be quite annoying.)

Well, will you look at that!

sweet william

The sweet william that the human female planted last year has made a reappearance.  What a ghastly color!

Ah, this one is not quite so garish.  Lyre leaf sage can have flowers in any shade from white to true purple. There’s a lot of it about.  This is the nicest one.

yard sage

They do say that purple is the color for Midgardian royalty.  Pffft!  What’s wrong with green and gold and black, I ask you?

Ah.  The grape hyacinth is back, too.

yard-muscari

It may say it’s grape, Sigyn, but do not trust it!  I licked it one year, and it definitely does not taste grape.  Bleargh.

You might have better luck tasting these wild onions.

yard onions

The human female planted a few bulbs one year and now there are dozens.  It’s how you know it’s spring.

And here’s the other way you know…

yard pink

The pinkening of the lawn has begun…

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A Little Night Botany

I will give the human female this:  there is one facet of her existence in which both her botanical skills and her sloth (by which I mean her laziness, not the stuffed representative of the Xenarthra which resides on the sofa) have paid off.  When the humans first moved into the house (back in the Mesozoic), the female noticed a few pink evening primroses in the weedy lawn.  Subscribing to the theory that most wildflowers are pleasing to have about the place, she mowed around them.  Less lawn to mow, and all that.

She continued with this regimen in subsequent years, with the result that the front lawn now looks like this:

oenothear4

I took that photo a bit ago. They’ve actually filled in a bit since then.  It’s by far the most gaudy and profligate display on the street.

Tonight, feeling in a bit of science-ish mode, the human female has taken her little black-light flashlight and come out to see if the flowers have any markings visible in UV light.  According to her, some flowers do, since many pollinating insects can see UV light.  These markings can serve as nectar guides, etc., etc., [insert long string of botanese.]

At any rate, here we are.  Flashlight on, and…

By Odin’s rotten depth-perception!  Boost me up, mortal, so that I may better see!  Observe:  there are no specific markings, but the flowers themselves glow brightly under UV, while the surrounding foliage appears dark.

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Under strong, directional UV, they fairly glow.

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Come look, Sigyn!

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Just don’t lean in too far —you know how hard it is to get pollen out of your hair!

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What I Found in the Yard– Sigyn Speaks (Almost Wordless Wednesday)

A whole lot of blue-flowered vetch that Loki says the human female really ought to pull out of the lawn but which I think is rather pretty.

yardwork5

Lyre-leaf sage, which politely declines to grow in the flower bed where it’s wanted and insists on coming up in the yard.

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And the first satellite dish of the season.

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: )