July 2012


I spotted this plant today during my evening walk about the yard.

Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)

Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)


I thought that even though this is a native plant, it looks alien. As in extraterrestrial.

I also spotted some Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)along the edge of the woods. I wasted no time in pulling that nasty stuff up. Left unchecked, it will take over a place and choke out all the native plants. I hope I got it all, but I will be sure to monitor that spot closely throughout the rest of the growing season.

Last week the wild woodland sunflowers (Helianthus divaricatus) at the end of my driveway bloomed.

Woodland sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)

Woodland sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)


At least, that’s what I think they are. I always look forward to these, and now, here they are. I took this photo two days ago, but only got it off the camera a few minutes ago. It was a nice surprise. 🙂

Tonight after dinner Beth was complaining about “being bored.” I gave her the usual suggestions – clean your room, clean the living room, read a book, write a book, pick some berries (I offered to pay her the going rate for them), but none of those appealed to her. So she went upstairs.

The Internet was sluggish, and then I almost got bored too. 😉 So I proposed a walk to Sandogardy. She wanted to swim, and I wanted to get a picture of a bullhead lily (Nuphar lutea). So we leashed up Penny, and we were off.

I wasn’t expecting anyone to be there at 6:00pm on a Friday, but there was a family of four swimming, and two other groups in paddle boats. The swimming family was the one whose kids like to throw the sticks into deep water for Penny. Oh well – she needed exercise too. Beth swam, and I went looking for the bullhead lily. Before I found one, I came cross some swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris) still blooming (they are mostly done now, but these were still looking good). I brought my big tripod, since I wanted to photograph the bullhead, and they grow in a couple of feet of water.

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

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Turns out I needed the big tripod to get a decent shot of these too. While I worked with the swamp candles, I was also scanning for the bullheads. I found some not too far off shore, shed my shoes and socks, and zipped off the legs of my pants. Then I went in.
Bullhead lily (Nuphar lutea)

Bullhead lily (Nuphar lutea)


I liked this shot the best, but all of them came out to my satisfaction.

I waded back to shore and gathered up my shoes. Then I noticed some water hemlock (Cicuta maculata). It too could take advantage of the big tripod.

Water hemlock (Cicuta maculata)

Water hemlock (Cicuta maculata)


This is said to be the most poisonous plant in North America. It is superficially similar to the wild carrot (aka Queen Anne’s lace), but they are not difficult at all to distinguish. The leaves are completely different, as are the stems. The flowers and habit are the most similar, but even those can be easily distinguished. In my opinion, no one should ever eat a wild carrot until they have seen one of these and can tell them apart a million times out of a million.

This guy didn’t seem to care though:

Lady beetle on water  hemlock

Lady beetle on water hemlock

Today Beth, Penny, and I walked down to Sandogardy Pond. I was not pressed for time today, so there was no need to drive. Beth wore her swimsuit (as did Penny), and I brought my camera. Beth swam and Penny chased sticks. There were lots of kids there to throw them for her, though most of them wanted to throw them into the deeper water. Being a Border Collie, she dutifully swam out and fetched them, but I could see it was making her pretty tired. I called her over to me, and the two of us wandered to the other end of the beach, away from the swimming area.

And along the way, I saw a lot more floating hearts than yesterday.

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


And here’s a cluster.
Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

We walked a little farther down the beach, and I noticed that not too far off shore, and in shallow water there were some water lilies (Nymphaea odorata). So once again, I took off my shoes and socks. I also zipped the legs off my pants and stuffed those into my boots on top of my socks. Then I went in:

Water lilies (Nymphaea odorata)

Water lilies (Nymphaea odorata)


It was worth it to me. I got several shots just like this, but only thought it fitting to post one.

Penny became impatient with me while I was “offshore” so she meandered back to the beach to find a more willing stick thrower. She was not disappointed. Meanwhile, Beth was practicing her American crawl:

Swimming in Sandogardy Pond

Swimming in Sandogardy Pond


She learned this at summer camp, and it has made her a much better swimmer.

The kids kept throwing sticks deep for Penny, and we had already been there for an hour, so I decided it was time to head back to the house. I leashed Penny up and told Beth to get out. She asked if she could swim back out the end of the dock first, and that sounded reasonable to me. While she was doing that, I spotted a flower I had just been talking about in my comments on yesterday’s post:

Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba)?

Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba)?


I think this is Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba), but I could be wrong on that. The flowers look about right, but it’s not growing in the water, and I’ve never seen the bug-catching bladders. So maybe it’s something else.

Beth was out by the time I was done photographing the bladderwort, so we walked home. Then the family had lunch, and then Beth was bored. She went to the neighbor’s house and played with her for an hour, and then came back home, bored again. So I suggested that the two of us ride bikes to Franklin and get an ice cream. She agreed, and we were off.

It took us about an hour to get to Franklin. There were hills aplenty, but none of them were too brutal. I bought some ice cream and a couple of bottles of water (forgot to fill the aluminum bottle before leaving the house). Then we crossed the road and at the ice cream in a park. I poured the water from one of the bottles into my aluminum one. Then we set out for home. The first leg of that journey was up a steep hill. The slope became gentler as we climbed, but we did walk up the first quarter mile. From the top of that hill it was downhill almost all the way home. Wheeeee!

We were both pretty tired when we got to the house. The whole journey took 2:35, which I think was pretty good for a ten year-old girl and a dad with too much gut. We might do this again one of these days.

Today I went down to Sandogardy Pond for a short time. I usually walk there, but I didn’t have time for that today, so I drove (shame on me!). Beth wanted to swim, so she suited up, and Penny wanted to chase sticks, so she came along too. I headed to the creek where I saw the mystery plant yesterday. The helpful New Hampshire Gardener suggested that the mystery plant could be Marsh Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata). I think he got the genus right, but I’m unsure on the species (the leaf has a fairly long petiole and S galericulata is sessile.

When I got there, the blossoms were gone, but the plant was still there. I pulled one up and took this photo.

Scutellaria?

Scutellaria?


The problem is that it doesn’t seem to perfectly match any of the Scutellaria in my books either. I will keep looking.

Before I even got to the mystery plant for a re-examination, I spotted some floating heart in bloom!

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


Off came my shoes and socks, and up went my pant legs. I waded out and took several shots.
Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


Then I saw some wet blossoms, and their petals were becoming translucent.
Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) partially immersed

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) partially immersed


Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) after full immersion

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) after full immersion


I didn’t notice it had visitors until I got home.

Nice.

The dewdrops (Dalibarda repens) are doing really well this year at my place. When I first found them, they were confined to one little clump next to my path. Then another year later, I found another much smaller clump, and the year after that I found another batch as well. But this year they seem to have spread all over the lower half of my west woods. And since I cannot resist their lure, you will have to look at more photos of dewdrops.

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)


Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)


Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

But I also have other flowers for you too. I went to Sandogardy Pond (again) yesterday with Penny and took these:

Arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea)

Arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea)

Arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea)

Arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea)


I’m pretty sure this one is not as far along as the one before. I guess the stamens disappear and turn into a little green ball after it’s pollinated. I can assure you though that they are both the same species.

The “purpose” of my walk (other than that I like walking there) was to find some floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) in bloom and get some photos of that. This one is a little tricky. It grows in water that’s a little too deep for my tiny tripod, and much too deep for my shoes. And if the blooms get wet, they turn transparent. I found a few transparent flowers, but since that doesn’t make a very compelling photograph, I didn’t take one. But I did take a shot of some of their foliage:

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


The water level was down here, so these leaves were lying on the ground. They normally float, and thus the name “floating heart.” I will keep trying to get a decent shot of the flowers, and next time I see a transparent one, I’ll try to photograph that too so you know what I’m talking about.

Penny and I did a little bushwhacking when we left the banks of the pond. It would have been easier to go back the way I came, but I thought I might see something Ihaven’t seen before if I took the non-road less travelled. I was right.

Unknown!

Unknown!


I don’t know what this is. I will probably try to find it in one of my books later tonight (unless any helpful New Hampshire Gardeners can tell me before then).

Hint, hint!

Yesterday I went for a walk at lunchtime, and I became the lunch. There is a trail around exit 13 on I-93, and I had been there one time before. It’s about a mile hike from the office to there. At a brisk rate, I can be there in 20 minutes, spend 20 minutes poking around with the camera, and then hike back in 20 minutes. But the mosquitoes are thick! They nearly carried me off.

This trail is right along the Merrimack, but it doesn’t offer views of the river. Maybe that’s why I don’t go there more often. There was also plenty of noise offered by the Interstate, and I’m sure that played into it as well. A little deet would have warded off the mosquitoes, so that’s not much of an issue.

Here are some of the plants I found while there.

Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)


This is Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata). The blooms nod, so you have to get beneath them and shoot up at the sky to capture their “fronts”. Here’s what they look like from a normal perspective:
Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

This is the plant I thought I saw at Sandogardy the other day, but it turned out to be swamp milkweed instead.

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)


I was surprised when I looked it up to see that the genus has changed from Eupatorium to Eutrochium. This is recent. I learned it as Eupatorium, which is the same genus as boneset (E. perfoliatum). The difference between the two genera is that one has whorled leaves (Eutrochium), while the other has opposite leaves (Eupatorium).

Here’s what it looks like from farther back.

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

It wasn’t long after I took that shot that I gave it up and beat a path back to the sidewalk to escape the mosquitoes. One nailed me behind the earlobe, but most of them bit my hands. One tried to get my nose right under the bridge of my glasses, but I managed to murder it first.

Here are some shots I took in my woods.

Moss

Moss


I used to know what kind of moss this is, but I don’t remember now, and I am not going to look it up (bad blogger!) This shows the reproductive bits. Those capsules will spew spores all over the place sometime soon. I think they look other-worldly.

And I can’t resist another shot of the dewdrops (Dalibard repens).

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Today I took Penny down to Sandogardy Pond. Since I have been bike riding of late rather than walking, she hasn’t had a chance to come along (it’s hard to take a dog on a bike ride).

When we got there, it was a tad crowded, with eight or ten people swimming in the pond and another dozen or more sitting on lawn chairs on the beach. Kids were immediately drawn to Penny, and Penny made it clear to them that she would like them to throw sticks. So they did. Meanwhile, I took pictures of some of the flowers blooming at the water’s edge.

Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata)

Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata)


I found some Indian tobacco growing all up and down the beach. I posted a shot of some of this yesterday, but I think this one is better. Another lobelia is water lobelia (L. dortmanna).
Water lobelia (L. dortmanna)

Water lobelia (L. dortmanna)


I think this is the prettiest lobelia. They are somewhat more difficult to photograph, as they grow out in the water complicating the use of my tiny tripod, and there’s not a lot of flower there making it hard for the camera to find what to focus on. But this photo came out pretty nice.

Pretty soon Penny was trying to get me to throw sticks instead of the kids (they were throwing them into deep water where Penny has a hard time retrieving them). The kids followed and began peppering me with questions.

“Whatcha doin’?”
“What kind of plant is this?”
“Are you taking pictures of frogs?”
“Do you want me to catch one for you?”

I didn’t want them to catch any frogs, but was powerless to stop them. They only caught one, and it was an unusual one.

Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris)

Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris)

No telling where its fourth leg went. My guess is that it just never developed (I was going to say that it was born without it, but duh – all frogs are born without legs).

Penny was getting pretty tired, and the kids kept throwing sticks for her. She needed to rest, but wouldn’t as long as there were willing stick throwers about. I ended up calling her away so she could lie down and drink.

The kids tried to follow as we set out down the trail along Little Cohas Brook, but their parents called them back. We went down to the bridge (where the trail crosses the creek) and I spotted what I initially thought was a stand of Joe Pye weed. I went in for a closer look.

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)


Nope. It was swamp milkweed (Asclepias incaranta), and it had a large contingent of butterflies. Nice. This is a milkweed I don’t see that often.

Penny followed me into the mud for a look at the milkweed, but unlike me, she was not careful to keep her feet clean. So we went back to the pond. I threw a stick in the water to get her to go in and wash some of that off. It worked, and she was soon presentable again. Then we headed back to the house.

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