Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cutler park

Quite frankly - I feel completely overwhelmed by all that is going on in my life right now. Luckily gardening helps, and so does nature walks on rainy days. The need to be outside is stronger than ever, and I went to Cutler park, a few miles from where I live, where the Charles river meanders through marshes and I once climbed a white oak with some friends. During my walk the rain stopped. The birds were singing manically, and I wish I knew their names.

 Flower with delicate leaves in a whorl of five

My cathedral


Starflower meadow

On the way out to the marsh, Joe Pyeweed. 

 In the dogwood shrubs in the marsh, one of the most tremendous singers, that little olive green thing in the middle of the picture.


and swamp milkweeds. 

On my way back I met these columns of different shapes and color

Unfurling fern

Cherry blossom - as pretty as anything in Washington or Tokyo.


Highbush blueberry flowers

 Anyone knows this plant?

Or this one, with sharp teeth and little spikes at the stem?

New fresh greenbriar, ready to attack.

Monday, May 14, 2012


 My blue house

My street

 Last Tulips

 Columbines, waiting for the hummingbirds

 Rhubarb flower

 Early rainy morning beauty

 Meadow with sedges, dandelions, buttercups

Redstemmed Dogwood shrub flower


Blue cornflower

Arugula flower

Onion flower

Sweet pea

Water on leaves

Friday, May 11, 2012

Elusive owls and hepaticas

 A couple of rainy days made gardening tough, so instead I went to such very dangerous places as excellent nurseries, and I also made a trip to Garden in the woods, the native plant sanctuary in Framingham to check out their nursery and gardens. They've been open for almost a month and I knew I was late for a lot of the spring ephemeral flowers. But the garden is worth a visit any time of the year and I eventually found lots of flower friends.

A washed out but still beautiful Mayapple.

 A deep red Trillium

Leaves of long gone Dutchman's breeches, with rain drops like jewels.

Of all flowers I was most hoping to find the Hepatica, one of my treasures and reminder of woods back home in Sweden. I looked everywhere but since last spring they had remodeled, and I knew I was really late anyway. Eventually I found one last one sitting in a flat, waiting to be transplanted into a new bed by the nursery volunteers.
Not a great picture, but this Goldenseal has little flowers that seem to come straight out of the leaves.

Some fantastic azaleas were opening up. How I love the woodland azaleas when they reach high for the light, not the dense blobs of unnatural colors that people put in their yards.

At Garden in the Woods they always show and promote ways of incorporating native flora into gardens and yards. An azalea can look great in a pot in a small shady backyard. Their ideas are inventive and inspirational.

One of the most important, and inspirational, features was the native bee habitat. Many native bees are solitary and do not build hives, and a habitat box like this can make a home for several different species. Some will also nest among the rocks in the foundation, and others will lay eggs in the narrow holes in the wood block at the bottom. Add some leaves and some straw, and bees, from big bumblebees to mason bees and tiny little metallic green bees will come to lay eggs. Native bees are under just as much stress as the honeybees, just less advertized, and their role in pollinating plants in the woods can not be understated.
Here's the side of the box. Twinleaf and wintergreen helps creating a shelter!

On the backside of the box you can see sticks of different sizes, creating little nooks and crannies for the bees to feel comfortable with.

I also saw that they been working on breeding new colors of Creeping Phlox, I've never seen anything like this one before!

I only had a short time to visit the pond, but all the frogs were out, loving the damp and rainy day.

Since the day we climbed the Black oak, the Great horned owl had been spotted a few times again, so today we were back to that forest hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive bird. It's a lot more to see as well. This wood is in such a developed area and yet so rich, and I am happy it's so close to my home.

 A lot of Pink Ladyslippers were in various stage of bloom. Their saturation varied too - some were more pink than others.

 Mapleleaf Viburnum buds

Poison Ivy growing up the trunk of an old sugar maple

Red flowers from a red Norway maple cultivar

American Hop-Hornbeam tree, leaves look just like birch.

The bud scales of this hickory are as gorgeous as any flower.

 By the brook we took a snack break and made little boats.

Meadow rue

and geranium.

A wood fungus coloring the old log aquablue

Root crossing and merging

Milo resting.

In the end, we didn't see any owl this time either. It could have something to do with that the pine it was last sighted in was now occupied by three sleeping raccoons, snuggling up with their tails hanging down.

Some talented artists at work - I cannot let Milo take the credit for all of this, though! A flat stone and some coal from a camp fire makes for great artistry.