Posts made in July, 2015

Catnip: Cats Behaving Badly

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in leaves, summer, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

Catnip: Cats Behaving Badly

Cataria nepeta. That’s some strong stuff, man. You don’t want to let your cat drive or operate power tools for several hours after a hit of this stuff. Catnip is a member of the mint family, bland and unobtrusive in the garden, with dull gray-purple flowers. Humans rarely notice it. But for some reason, giving a sprig of catnip to a cat is like handing a human an uncorked bottle of Jack Daniels. It seems to affect individual cats differently. Some cats are rowdy drunks, reeling around the house yowling and swinging from the chandelier. Others quietly collapse in a heap and sleep...

Read More

Nature’s Crayons

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in great ideas, plant parts, summer, Unmowed Blog | 1 comment

Nature’s Crayons

There’s a chemical which is found in every green plant–every tree, grass blade, bush, cactus, moss, rosebush, lettuce, whatever. It’s called chlorophyll, and it’s a pigment, actually, a green pigment which absorbs just the right wavelength of sunlight to jumpstart the complex chemical process whereby plants make food. Chlorophyll is the key to photosynthesis, enabling plants to magically transform air, sunlight, and water into sugars that nourish the plant and anything that eats it. Chlorophyll is, really, the basis of life on this planet. Chlorophyll is also the stuff that puts grass...

Read More

Chickweed: Anywhere Will Do

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in flowers, summer, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

Chickweed: Anywhere Will Do

I never cease to be amazed at the incredible habitats that plants can exploit. A McDonald’s drive-through wouldn’t seem to be the place to find beauty. But the hardy plants we usually call weeds aren’t particular about how scenic the location is. All they need is a few square inches of space, a few grains of soil, and few stray sunbeams. Even air pollution from the constant stream of cars chugging by doesn’t bother them. Next to the curb at the drive-through is a tiny flower–I mean tiny.  You could fit three of these on top of a dime. I’m not a hundred per...

Read More

Red, White, and Blue

Posted by on Jul 4, 2015 in adaptations, flowers, holiday, insects, summer, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

Red, White, and Blue

The amazing diversity of flowers. Each bright color attracts a pollinator. Red beckons hummingbirds; yellow calls out to honey bees. Bumblebees prefer purple. Each blossom has instructions for the bees, flies, and beetles: lines and arrows and streaks to guide them to the heart of the flower where the nectar is hidden. Diversity is...

Read More