oenothera speciosa

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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: )