Nature and Beauty are Bread for the Soul

Nature Beauty Bread“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir

Photo taken a few days ago in Castlewood State Park in Ballwin, Missouri.  Get out and enjoy Autumn before the wind and cold sweep away all the color!


Creeping into Autumn

Virginia Creeper Turning

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!

Bring back Wildflowers, Bring back Monarchs!

Bring back Wildflowers, Bring back Monarchs!

Orange, Black, White. In flight.Monarch on a Thistle
Delicate beauty. Glorious sight.
Please don’t disappear!

Picky young eater.
So no Milkweed, no Monarchs!
Grow native, save lives.

Learn more:

Bluebell Blooms Bring Back Spring

When I see Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica), I know that, despite the calendar date, Spring has truly arrived!



Delicate new blooms

Ephemeral spring beauty

Look down. Don’t miss it!

Fire: Prescription for Life

Hawn State Park

Hawn State Park

Fires, floods, fallen trees,

All appears lost, all looks dead,

Yet life rekindles!


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!!

Along the Crest, Crested Iris

Enjoyed another fantastic day at Shaw Nature Reserve.  Following my volunteering stint, I hiked through the dry glades and woodlands near the Meramec River, evaluating the Spring’s continuing transition in color.  Among the most vibrant and prolific today was Dwarf Crested Iris (Iris cristata).  Just another native to consider in your garden!

Bluebell Symphony

They are here!  The Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are finally in bloom.  I walked down to the bottoms near the Meramec River at the Shaw Nature Reserve to find these wonderful spring colors filling the forest floor.  It had just rained the day before, so the cloudy day and the excess moisture certainly presented some interesting photographing opportunities.