Posts made in August, 2013

Morning Glory: The Vine Lifestyle

Posted by on Aug 16, 2013 in adaptations, flowers, plant parts, summer, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

Morning Glory: The Vine Lifestyle

There’s something shady about vines. Look at the names we give them—creepers, stranglers, parasites. I guess, in our puritan work ethic, there’s something morally dubious about a plant that can’t stand on its own two feet, so to speak. Why can’t vines get out and support themselves and not go draping themselves all over things? To call someone a “clinging vine” is to imply weakness. But actually vines are among the most powerful and successful plants on the planet. They succeed in ways more upright, self-supporting types can’t. Vines can exploit habitats that no other type of plant could...

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The Angry Cardinal

Posted by on Aug 11, 2013 in birds, photos, summer, Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 0 comments

The Angry Cardinal

Well?   I’m waiting.   I really think I’m being very patient here. See this beak? This can crack more than sunflower seeds, you know. I’m not going to be patient much longer. Okay. I’m going to count to three. One. Two. Two and a half. I mean it. You’d better get a move on. Two and three-quarters. GET THAT SUNFLOWER SEED OUT HERE RIGHT NOW!   Thanks to Diane Hale Smith for braving the Angry Cardinal to take this wonderful picture!  ...

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Goldenrod: Does Not Cause Hay Fever

Posted by on Aug 9, 2013 in fall, flowers, photos, summer, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

Goldenrod: Does Not Cause Hay Fever

GOLDENROD DOES NOT CAUSE HAY FEVER. The first sight of goldenrod’s yellow blossoms means summer has reached its high tide. Now we’re on the downhill slope to fall. Fall, the time of gorgeous color, and goldenrod is the first bright splash of paint on autumn’s palette. And there’s some mixed metaphors for you. Goldenrod is a native American plant, great for wildlife, beautiful to look at. And yet it’s wildly unpopular. The poor innocent plant has been wrongfully implicated in a crime it did not, and never will, commit. GOLDENROD DOES NOT CAUSE HAY FEVER. This fact cannot be repeated often...

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Staghorn Sumac: Painting With Trees

Posted by on Aug 7, 2013 in birds, edible, seeds, summer, Uncategorized, Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 0 comments

Staghorn Sumac: Painting With Trees

Staghorn sumac. (Rhus typhina.) These dainty little trees are a common sight along roadsides. They seem to spring up everywhere, near dumps or malls or in weedy backyards. They’re the kind of tree no one notices. Except birds, of course, who love the sweet fuzzy berries, high in vitamin C and energy. But four hundred years ago, sumac seeds were almost literally worth their weight in gold. English botanists explored the New World in the early 1600s and were thrilled to discover a host of exotic species: exciting plants (which are ho-hum to us today) like goldenrod, sugar maples, white pines,...

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Guest Photographer Diane Hale Smith; A Study in Scarlet

Posted by on Aug 3, 2013 in birds, environment, flowers, photos, summer, Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 1 comment

Guest Photographer Diane Hale Smith; A Study in Scarlet

Red. Blood red. Fire engine red. Crimson. That’s what hummingbirds like. These magnificent little birds are drawn to the color red like iron is drawn to a magnet, cats to catnip, humans to chocolate.   Where I used to work, there was a bright red fire extinguisher bolted next to one of the doors, and sometimes when we left the door propped open, a hummingbird would fly in and spend quite a lot of time trying to suck nectar from the tube-shaped nozzle. I once made the mistake of wearing a red t-shirt on a hike—this was in Arizona—and I was constantly buzzed by hummers, going ZZZZZZZZZZZZ in...

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