Great Blue Lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica
Brilliant drops of blue sky with wispy white clouds.
All atop a native perennial, sky at my fingertips.
The best billboards for pollinator passersby.
I took this picture a couple weeks ago as the local Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) population began changing into its vibrant red garb. Thank you, Nature!!!
Virginia Creeper often gets mistaken for Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), but is 5-leaved, whereas the Poison Ivy is 3-leaved. Both are native to this area, but I’d highly recommend Virginia Creeper for your garden or natural landscaping.
Just make sure not to landscape with Poison Ivy, unless you’re itching to repel your neighbors… Ha!
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
One of my favorite quotes…it not only inspires my continued appreciation for the natural world, but it also clarifies my thoughts on Sustainability.
*I took this photo at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO this Spring.
When I see Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica), I know that, despite the calendar date, Spring has truly arrived!
I took a 4-mile hike yesterday with some friends along Pickle Creek in Hawn State Park, near Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. Spring is finally springing, though I’ve yet to see many spring ephemerals popping up yet. Can’t wait for the bluebells (see previous post)!!
Along part of the hiking path, we saw the charred ground and trees of a recent fire. A prescribed fire, in this neck of the woods, is not destructive; occasional fires and floods are ecologically healthy for these ecosystems. Fire helps keep the highlands from accumulating too much detritus and understory flora (and adding fuel for more-difficult-to-control wildfires). Occasional prescribed burns affect insect populations, provide additional habitat, accommodate the perpetuation of more native plants and trees, and help curb the spread of weedy or invasive plants.
Of course, always be prepared and safe when conducting prescribed burns!!
Just after Christmas, I took some friends on a day hike south of St. Louis, Missouri. Winter hikes are the best…no ticks or mosquitoes! And the weather this day was particularly pleasant.
We visited Hickory Canyons Natural Area, in Ste Genevieve County, which features box canyons and sandstone cliffs. During the right winter conditions, icicles form throughout the canyons. I call the sight ‘God’s Pipe Organ.’ At any rate, we visited on a day above freezing. In the silence and solitude of sandstone, ferns, lichen, and moss, an icy stalactite would occasionally crash down into the valley below.
One icicle must have impaled the soft ground, melted, and refroze. The result was an ice globe.
Don’t give up on the outdoors when the leaves on the trees have fallen and the flowers aren’t in bloom (Actually…Witch Hazel). Nature gives you entertainment and enchantment year-round!
More photos on my Flickr.