flowers

Bee Balm: Hummingbird Heaven

Posted by on Aug 9, 2015 in birds, flowers, summer, Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 2 comments

Bee Balm: Hummingbird Heaven

Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. And bee balm is red. Red, red. Fire engine red. Bee balm is a member of the mint family, as can be seen by its squared-off stems and paired leaves; like most mints, it’s hardy, and spreads readily–pretty easy to grow. My kind of plant. It’s a native wildflower–at least it was originally a wildflower, though I’ve never seen it growing in the wild–what I’ve got in my garden is a nursery-bred variety of the original wild plant. And it’s red. Blood red. Hummingbirds, which have keen color vision, are...

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 strength.

Read More

Dandelion: Sparkling Wine

Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 in edible, flowers, spring, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

Dandelion: Sparkling Wine

Dandelion wine. “The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered.” Ray Bradbury, the great science fiction writer, was a man who knew how to appreciate summer. And he really knew how to appreciate dandelions:”A pride of lions on the lawn.” To make dandelion wine, you need the full-blown blossoms. What’s more, you have to harvest the flowers when they’re open. Since dandelion flowers close up tight on cloudy or rainy days, you have no choice but to wait for sunshine. All recipes for dandelion wine agree that you have to pick...

Read More

Winter Gold: Witch Hazel

Posted by on Feb 17, 2015 in flowers, Unmowed Blog, winter | 4 comments

Winter Gold: Witch Hazel

My hands have never been so cold. I’m wearing gloves but they’re too thin, and the wind is howling. It’s what they used to call a lazy wind–it goes right through you instead of taking the trouble to go around. The skyscrapers of New York City make canyons for the wind to flow through like a bitter river. Cold gusts are slipping icy fingers down the back of my neck. Central Park is full of trees, but there’s nary a leaf anywhere to be seen (not counting pine needles).  You wouldn’t think anything would be flowering now, in the darkest days of December. And...

Read More

Goldenrod Safari

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in fall, flowers, insects, Unmowed Blog | 2 comments

Goldenrod Safari

A hungry predator crawls through a leafy jungle. Slow cautious movements make no sound. The well-camouflaged predator waits, motionless. Powerful forelegs stretch wide to grab its unwary prey. Beware the goldenrod jungle! A single goldenrod plant is a complex habitat, the leaves, stems, and flowers providing food and shelter for a bewildering variety of strange, hidden creatures. Each goldenrod plant has thousands of tiny blossoms crammed together, their nectar providing a vital late-summer source of nutrition for butterflies, moths and bees. Take a safari along the length of a goldenrod...

Read More