Archive for the ‘Natural Science’ Category

Some non-blooms

Lichen on fence gate

There’s a couple of pictures I took last week that didn’t fit in with bloom day (but that I still like). One is a sample of the lichen growing all over our unpainted fences. It almost makes me want to not replace the fence, but then I regain my resolve when seeing bits of fencing falling over and into the neighbor’s yard!

Dragonfly visitor

This dragonfly looked to be laying eggs in one of the logs on the edge of the pond. It would alternate this behavior with zipping around the pond without alighting anywhere.

From what I can find online, this appears to be a swamp darner (Epiaeschna heros).   It’s identified by having blue eyes, green stripes, and being huge.   It’s known mainly as a southeastern dragonfly, but Cook County is within its range.

A foot of snow and an earthquake

Pond after a foot of snow

Not only did we pick up a foot or so of snow last night, we also had an earthquakeUnlike the last magnitude 5.2 quake, our earthquake indicator – a small action figure of Jean Alesi standing on my framed diploma – did not fall over.  Like the last one, this one didn’t wake me up.  My hypothesis is that the tipping point for M. Alesi is somewhere between a mag 3.8 and a mag 5.2.

There’s no animal prints in such a deep snow, but the previous dusting did leave some interesting ones:

Feral cat tracks

One of the local feral cats jumping up on the fence to visit another yard.

Raccoon tracks?

Check out those little fingers! I’m guessing this is from one of the many raccoons in the area.

Midwinter thaw

Winter pond visitors

It’s been cold & snowy here, just like most of the US and Europe, thanks to the North Atlantic Oscillation. There’s not a lot of open water in our urban neighborhood even when it’s not covered in snow and ice, so the pond waterfall and deicer bring in critter visitors.  The birdfeeder has also had lots of customers, but the squirrels continue to be frustrated by our use of hot bird seed.

Fortunately, the NAO is going back to more normal values, and we’re now above freezing for the first time in 20 days.  Spring seems a long ways away, but I am halfway between my usual last Bloom Day post of the year (mid-November) and my first (mid-March).  I can’t wait to see if the snowdrops I planted a couple of months ago come up even before that!

Bloom Day – November 2009

Calendula in November

The calendula don’t realize how late in the year it is.

This will likely be my last Bloom Day post until March or April 2010. Winter is coming upon us, although November has been much warmer than October so far.  I will definitely be reading all of the Bloom Days at May Dreams Gardens over the winter to get my fill of lovely growing things.

In bloom:

  • petunia
  • calendula
  • Marsh marigold in November

  • marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) – the first to bloom in the spring and the last to bloom in the fall

In fruit:
November raspberries!
raspberry ‘Caroline’, profusely!

Peak color

Basswood at peak color

I believe we’ve just passed peak color here in NE Oak Park. It was glorious this year – check out the parkway basswood!

What happens after peak color

The leaves have come off quickly this week with all the wind and rain we’ve had. What comes after peak color? Raking and vacuuming/shredding, of course. Next up, the story of the one tree that is no longer there…

Last photos from late summer

Hosta bloom

The hostas are finally blooming now that summer has come to an end. It was cool, and the cloudiest one ever.

Pickerel weed bloom

Despite all the raccoon harvesting done to it, the pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata) finally bloomed.

Bee on zigzag goldenrod

The bees have moved on from the Joe Pye weed to the zigzag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis), which is prostrate in the shady side yard.

Fall crop of raspberries - first part

The early crop of Caroline raspberries was not particularly impressive, but the canes are really starting to produce now.  Even farmer’s market raspberries are not as fragrant and delicious as backyard ones!

Bloom Day – August 2009

Water lilies

After a very wet and cold spring and early summer, we’ve had the driest midsummer in 75 years.  I’m having to water for the first time this year, but I snapped a few pictures before turning on the sprinkler.

The blooms this August look much like the ones last August, except that the big white hosta blooms are a few days behind schedule and the pickerel weed isn’t blooming at all after all the raccoon pool parties.   Links below go to pictures of that bloom in recent posts.

  • Water lily (above)
  • Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)
  • Great blue lobelia by the pond

  • Great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
  • Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida)
  • Marsh phlox (Phlox glaberrima)
  • Calendula
  • Snapdragon
  • Fennel
  • Dill (Grandma Einck’s)
  • Petunia
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Big leaf aster & great blue lobelia

  • Big leaf aster (Aster macrophyllus) – seen here with great blue lobelia
  • White woodland aster

  • White woodland aster (Aster divaricatus)
  • Spotted Joe Pye weed – the little one (Eupatoriadelphus maculatus)
  • Sweet Joe Pye weed

  • Sweet Joe Pye weed – the big one (Eupatoriadelphus purpureus)
  • Zigzag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)
  • Annabelle hydrangea - blooming in August!

  • Annabelle hydrangea (the parts I trimmed back in May are blooming now)
  • Sweet black eyed Susan

  • Sweet black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia subtomentosa)
  • Nodding onion (Allium cernuum)