After a nice afternoon nap, Penny talked me into taking her on a walk to Sandogardy Pond. We had been away for ten days visiting relatives in Kentucky, and she stayed here with David. She missed us!

Before we even got off our property, I stumbled across the largest colony of Indian pipe (Monoflora unitropa) that I think I’ve ever seen. This one looked especially nice against a backdrop of moss.

Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

I was pleased to see some fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata) in the ditch along the road. There used to be a lot more of it, but the Japanese knotweed has been expanding along the ditch, forming a huge monoculture and displacing native species as it goes along. Here is one of the flowers, shot from underneath:

Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

And here’s what the plant looks like. Notice how the flowers nod:

Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

This patch of woods along th way was covered up with ripe blueberries. I stopped, picked, and devoured about a pint of them.

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Just before the pond, there was a batch of shinleaf pyrola. I think this was as nice a batch of them as I have ever seen:

Shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica)

Shinleaf
(Pyrola elliptica)

We got to the pond, but I could tell there were a lot of people there picnicking and swimming. Not wanting to bother them, we detoured down the the stream that drains the pond, and Penny jumped right in:

Penny cools off

Penny cools off

We approached the pond from the other side, stopping to look at the bluebead lilies:

Bluebead lily (Clintonia borealis)

Bluebead lily (Clintonia borealis)

Over at the other end of the beach (the part that is somewhat overgrown with alder), I found one of the plants I was hoping to see – swamp candles. This was was blooming next to a wild rose:

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

The pickerel weed was also in bloom, but it was just starting – it will be more photogenic in another week or so. There was what I know is a variety of St Johnswort growing on the beach, and I think it might be dwarf St Johnswort. But I have not yet confirmed that.

Dwarf St Johnswort (Hypericum mutilum)?

Dwarf St Johnswort (Hypericum mutilum)?

We’ll go back again soon Penny!

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)

Yesterday after work I took a lap around my woodlot with Penny and found that the trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens) is coming along nicely.

Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens)

Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens)


So far that’s the only thing in bloom in my woods at ground level. The red maples are still going, but I think they’re on their last hurrah.

I made my way around to the front of the house and saw these:

Grandma's Irises

Grandma's Irises


I had forgotten about them. I dug them up at my parents house last summer and replanted them here. I was thinking these were my Grandma’s irises, but they could also be my Dad’s day lilies. Or they could be both, I’m just not sure. I’ll surely know later this year when they get bigger and possibly even bloom.

The photo is nothing to write about though. The sun had already gone down by the time I found them, so I set the camera on a rock and jacked the exposure time up to a quarter second. Meh.

I went for a walk today during lunch. I walked my usual route but in the reverse direction. Right outside the office I stopped where there’s a stand of curly dock (Rumex crispus). I wasn’t hungry (having just eaten), but it looked good, so I harvested a couple of mouthfuls and quickly gobbled them down. They are very tasty at this stage. I didn’t think to take a picture, but maybe I will again tomorrow.

I continued my walk and stopped by a sugar maple to see how it was coming along. At first I didn’t see anything green on it, but upon closer inspection:

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)


I expect it will be in bloom tomorrow.

My walk took my behind some department stores and along the railroad tracks. There were a lot of dandelions in bloom.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)


I ate one of the blossoms. To me, that is the only part of a dandelion that is even remotely palatable. Other people rave about them and crave them, but I just don’t get that. Samuel Thayer (in my opinion the best writer on the topic of edible wild plants) writes that the crowns are good and has a long discussion on that in Natures Garden. So I tried one. It’s not terrible, but I don’t think I could stand to eat an entire serving of them.

Other people near here have been reporting (and photographing and blogging about) finding a lot of other plants that I think I should be seeing – but don’t yet. Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) and Japenese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) are the primary ones I’m interested in. Coltsfoot because I think it’s a cool looking plant. Knotweed because I want to eat some. In fact, if I can manage it, I’d like to decimate the stand of knotweed near my house by eating as much of it as I can. It’s an invasive alien, and I happen to know that this particular stand has already crowded out at least one native plant – Fringed loosestrife Lysimachia ciliata. Realistically, I don’t think it’s possible for me to single-handedly eat down an entire colony of Janpanese knotweed, but I’d like to give it the old college try anyhow. It tastes pretty OK!