… from this morning’s walkaround. Click images for larger view.
My photography mentor, T. L.Gettings, usually refused to take his camera out of the bag unless his shadow was longer than he was tall. That’s pretty much all day around here this time of the year.
The low light (low in the sky, that is) really brings out the best in the tan-and-fuzzy subject matter that dominates most years around Thanksgiving. Here’s a sample:
Grasses and bottletree.
And a couple more bottletree views.
About 6 of our 7 acres (here’s an aerial view) is pretty scrubby woodland. I suspect that it was once apple orchard and/or pasture on pretty poor soils that were further compacted and depleted for 100 years or so of use and abuse. (Our house dates to 1863, and there was also a small cheese factory on the site.)
With the lousy soils, disturbance and heavy deer populations, there isn’t much exciting going on plant-wise out in the woods. But along the small stream and wetland that define the south edge of our yard, there is a great showing of Caltha palustris, aka marsh marigold or kingcup. (palustris = of the marsh.)
It’s not rare. You can find it in wet areas across northern North America, Europe, Russia and Asia. It’s poisonous and a skin irritant, so the deer leave it alone. Here’s a nice botanical drawing from 1885 and a double-flowered variety from a co-workers garden. The photo is fuzzy, but it’s a spectacular plant.
There’s a little bit of high ground that extends into the wetland, where there’s more grass than cattails. Growing out of that high spot is what I call the lone crabapple, but I suspect that it’s a seedling from one of the trees that formerly dotted the property, maybe with some cider apple lineage in it. There is one huge (30-foot-tall) ancient apple tree on the edge of the wood that looks dead in winter but leafs out every spring. It’s flowering profusely this spring. When it does manage to produce a few fruits, they are white-skinned, usually with a little green algae-like cast to them.
Anyway, the lone crab is on an alternate-year flowering schedule. This year is its year and it’s covered with flowers. On off years, there’s a mirror image of it flowering 200 yards away to the west on the other side of the main wetland. You can see it from the kitchen and bathroom windows. It couldn’t be better placed, though I would never have thought to put it there.
The flowers close up.
Flower has rotten flesh smell is a top video at CNN now. I can’t embed it or link to it directly. If the video isn’t there anymore, try plugging the title of the clip into their search box. (Be sure to click on the cnn.com button, not web.)
Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset, Thoroughwort)
I thought this was a flower that snuck in to the bed east of the vegetable garden on another plant purchased at a plant sale. But now I see it growing in various spots around the property, so it must have snuck in from there. Thanks to Rick Uva for id’ing it.