Posts made in November, 2012

Asters: The Options Are Narrowing

Posted by on Nov 13, 2012 in fall, Uncategorized, Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 0 comments

Any flowers left around here? I like to have a few flowers in a jar, sitting on my desk or on the kitchen table. Zinnias, clovers, roses, thistles, doesn’t matter what. On afternoon strolls I pick a few blossoms to stick into water when I get home. But now, in mid-November, the options are narrowing. Hardly a flower left. Green leaves, yes, still quite a lot of photosynthesis going on. But the flowers’ work is done. The honeybees have packed it in for the year. The hummingbirds have split. The flowers have pretty much called it a day. A few exceptions, though. Red clover is very frost hardy....

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Dandelions: On the Road

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in adaptations, fall, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

The road goes ever on and on.             Down from the door where it began.             Now far ahead the road has gone             And I must follow, if I can…     Or maybe I’ll just germinate right here in the middle of the road… Is there anywhere—anywhere!–dandelions won’t grow? A dandelion seed landed here, and somehow found enough specks of dirt and moisture in the cracks to enable it to sprout, and grow, and survive. Dandelions are perennials, and this looks like a...

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Pine Hollow: A Dinosaur at the Arboretum

Posted by on Nov 10, 2012 in nature centers, Unmowed Blog, winter | 2 comments

Okay, maybe you can’t tell from the picture, but this was a cold day. I mean a middle-of-January can’t-feel- your-toes kind of cold. Wind chill probably in the 20s. And this hardy class from the Bethlehem Children’s School in Delmar NY braved the weather to explore the Pine Hollow Arboretum. Pine Hollow is the ultimate unmowed backyard. It’s the product of decades of work by Dr. John Abbuhl, who turned his suburban Slingerlands home into a living museum. More than 3,000 plantings of trees, shrubs, and vines. Twelve ponds. Trails, paths, valleys and hills. It’s...

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Wild Strawberry: Creeping Around the Graveyard

Posted by on Nov 8, 2012 in adaptations, edible, plant parts, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

Graveyards are so filled with life. They’re perfect places to study the natural world. They’ve got lots of trees. Lots of birds. Not a lot of traffic. And they’re certainly quiet. The grass is usually well-mowed, true, but at least in a country graveyard like this, the grass is herbicide-free and filled with a pleasing diversity of plants. And a graveyard seems like an appropriately eerie place to find a creeper.   Just on the edge of a blacktopped path, there’s an edging of plants with three jaggedly-toothed leaflets. Not poison ivy, which never has saw-toothed leaves, but...

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Grass: Winter Green

Posted by on Nov 5, 2012 in adaptations, Unmowed Blog, winter | 0 comments

It’s November. Not a doubt of it. I can tell, because of all the usual clues. I can see my breath. There’s a skim of ice on the pond. I need mittens in the morning, because the steering wheel is like ice. The trees have bare branches. And the grass is emerald green. It’s the oddest thing about November, I find, the combination of brown shrivelled flowers, barren tree branches, and bright green grass. Grass, you see, is hard to kill. The leaves of many species of grass and lots of other low-lying plants, like clover, are highly resistant to frost. It’s hugely to the plants’ advantage,...

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