Beth and I took Penny to Sandogardy Pond today. I wanted to look for the late summer aquatics, and though we were able to find quite a few, I didn’t find all the ones I was looking for.

Before we got to the pond we found some Indian tobacco.

Indian Tobacco (Lobelia inflata)

Indian Tobacco (Lobelia inflata)


This is also called “puke weed” and I think that’s what I’m going to call it from now on. I suspect that “Indian tobacco” is a racial slur, as many plants with “Indian” in the name are. As in, “tobacco only good enough for Indians.”

Not far from the puke weed, we came across some hazel cuttings.

Beaked Hazels

Beaked Hazels


These are the shells from beaked hazels (Corylus cornuta) which were growing nearby. I have a lot of them on my property too, but have never really been able to harvest any. The squirrels and chipmunks tend to harvest them before they ripen. You have to be careful when gathering them too, because those husks are full of fine spines which have a tendency to stick in your skin and break off. Just imagine shelling one with your lips and teeth!

We got to the pond, and the first blooming plant I noticed was this spotted water hemlock.

Spotted Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata)

Spotted Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata)


It is important to be aware of this plant if you plan to eat wild carrots, because they are superficially similar, and spotted water hemlock is the most toxic plant in North America. One taste can kill.

Just offshore from the water hemlock, I could see the floating heart in bloom. I took off my shoes and waded out to it.

Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata)


You have to be careful when photographing these, because the tiniest waves you make tend to wet the flowers, and when that happens, they turn from white to transparent. I have dozens of photos of transparent floating heart blossoms. I managed to avoid that this time.

Down the beach a little ways I found some Marsh St Johnswort.

Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)


I always have a hard time remembering the name of this one, because I keep wanting to put the “Virginia” part of the binominal name into the common name. Virginia St Johnswort? Nope. Virginia Swamp St Johnswort? Nope. Someday I might be able to remember without the aid of the Internet.

I had already put my shoes back on when I found some seven-angled pipewort. I didn’t want to take them off again, so I leaned way out and snapped this shot.

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)


Leaning out doesn’t make the greatest photos, and we can see that here. I looked for these earlier this summer but could find no sign of them. But today, here they are.

A little farther down I found some square-stemmed monkey flower.

Square-temmed Monkey Flower (Mimulus ringens)

Square-temmed Monkey Flower (Mimulus ringens)


This plant got me into a little trouble once. A friend of mine breeds poodles and typically names them after flowers. Knowing that I was a plant-guy, she asked me to suggest a name for her next “keeper” dog. She was not pleased when I proposed square-stemmed monkey flower. I guess it just doesn’t roll off the tongue.

“Here, Square-stemmed Monkey Flower! Here girl!”

Nope.

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This afternoon Jonathan and I took Penny down to the pond. I brought the big tripod, but didn’t really find anything that motivated me to put the camera on it. But I did find something that motivated me to put it on the little tripod:

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


I’ve been looking for these all summer. The water has been high pretty much since spring, but has finally gone down to a “normal” level. Maybe that’s what these were waiting for.

There were lots of blackberries along the way, and I spent the whole walk stuffing my face with them. When we got back to the house, I took a short nap, and then took Penny for a lap around my woods.

I saw some more purple mushrooms. I’m not sure if these are the same thing as the ones I’ve seen in the past, but I can’t pass up a purple mushroom photo-op.

Another purple mushroom

Another purple mushroom

Not far from there was something I would never have predicted – a gaywings blossom in August.

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)


These usually put in an appearance in April or May. I have never seen one in August before. I suspect that with the cool temperatures we’ve had here this summer, this specimen decided to give blooming another go.

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!

Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)

Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)


I took a picture of this wood frog (Rana sylvatica) on Tuesday. It apparently has an injured right eye, but I didn’t notice that until I downloaded the photo to my computer and zoomed in on the detail (I do that the assess image quality). Poor little guy!
Update: Maybe he just has mud in his eye?

I was out in the yard trying to decide how realistically I’d be able to teach the edible wild plants honor here at my house. It wasn’t looking that great if I got a big crowd of people. I still have blueberries and the blackberries are just coming in, but I need three berries. The wintergreen is in flower now, there just aren’t many berries out there. The partridge berries are still very unripe, as are the autumn olive and dew berries. So I can only manage two berries here right now. On top of that, all the hazelnuts I had seen earlier in the summer have been decimated:

Robbed!

Robbed!


Samuel Thayer, in Nature’s Garden holds that people can get to the hazels before the animals do – you just have to stay on top of them. Well, I’m going to have to contest that. I have been checking on them daily, and the ones I can still find are still not ripe. Maybe Thayer doesn’t have chipmunks. In fact, on Tuesday I picked one that I considered unripe and buried it in the mud (Thayer’s recommendation – this softens the prickly hull and makes it easier to get the nut out). When I did this, I counted about a dozen nuts on one small (but particular) tree. When I returned to that tree yesterday, there was not one nut still on it. I dug up the one I had buried, and I will open it soon to see if it was ripe or not. I don’t think it was though, as the color was definitely on the yellow end of the spectrum rather than the darker brown I would expect.

The bottom line is that I have decided to teach the Electricity honor instead. I just don’t have the quantities of plants needed here to support a troop of kids.

Beth and I took Penny for a walk down to Sandogardy Pond this afternoon after lunch. On the way I saw some asters in bloom.

Aster

Aster


I won’t even try to put a species name on these. There are hundreds of possibilities when it comes to asters, and I have not equipped myself to distinguish them.

When we got there, I went poking around the dock to see if I could find any arrowhead (Sagitaria graminea), and to my surprise, the floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) had bloomed.

Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata)


I took several shots and then moved a little farther up the shore away from the dock when I saw a pretty large snake lying motionless in the pickerelweed. I watched it for a bit trying to decided if it was alive or not (it was so large I wasn’t even sure if it was real). I followed his body with my eyes until I found his head, and then I was sure that he was both real and alive, so I maneuvered my camera into position spooking him. So instead of a nice shot showing how big this guy was, all I could get was his head:
Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon)

Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon)

I went over to the other side of the dock and then walked up the shoreline where there was a lot of pickerelweed. I got these shots:

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)


And a close-up of one of the blossoms:
Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)


Pickerelweed is trystylus, meaning that the styles (the female part of the flower) come in three distinct lengths relative to the length of the stamen (male part). Thus, when a bee comes by, it won’t transfer pollen from the stamen to the style of the same plant. I think that’s pretty cool.

I almost stepped on this little guy:

Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba)

Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba)


This is one that I first saw last year, and was somehow able to remember its name. If my identification is correct, this is a insectivorous plant. The blossom here is tiny – maybe an eighth of an inch across.

While we were there I also went looking for some Virginia Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum). This is another plant that grows near water and blooms in the mid to late summer. It was in bloom the last time I went to Sandogardy, and I took several poor photos of it. Today I wanted to take some better shots, but I was hard pressed to find any with open blossoms. I did not think they quit flowering that quickly. I finally did find one with an open bloom:

Virginia Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Virginia Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Beth and I then headed back to the house, and I took a nice two-hour nap. Va woke me for supper, and after we finished that, David asked if I wanted to go to Sandogardy. But of course I did! He didn’t know Beth and I had already been, as he also took a nap after lunch – only he started his well before we did. Beth wanted to join us for a second walk too, and of course, Penny never turns down an opportunity like that.

So off we went. When we got there, I found that the prodigious number of Virginia Marsh St Johnswort that is indeed there had all opened their blossoms while I slept. So I took a few more shots.

T. virginicum

T. virginicum

This one came out half decent (though if I ever fix my tripod mount on this camera, I’m sure I could do better). Pretty much all my shots this summer have been hand-held.

Yesterday evening I noticed that one of the dewdrops (Dalibarda repens) in my woods had finally bloomed. It was missing two of its five petals, but since it was the first one, I got out the camera. As I was adjusting it, Penny came tearing along the path, doing 90 miles per hour. Since I was standing on the path, Penny veered around me and stepped right on the dewdrop. That took it down to a single, mangled petal. I did not take a picture. Instead, I went looking for more. There are three patches of this stuff in my woods, all within 50 feet of each other. Patch number two had no blooms, but patch number three had this one:

Dewdrops (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrops (Dalibarda repens)


This is hands-down my favorite flower. It is the species that taught me how to take photos of flowers, because I found it totally impossible to photograph using the automatic settings of my previous camera. I had to learn the manual controls. This is kind of a rare plant. It’s endangered in Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina and Rhode Island. Actually, I just pasted most of that sentence in from the Wikipedia article, but that’s OK, because I’m the one that wrote it there in the first place. I started that article and put together the initial content. The photo in the article is also mine, and I don’t think I have ever taken a better shot of anything. That, my friends, is my best work. I use it as wallpaper on my computer.

So now that I have established my love affair with this plant for you, you can perhaps understand why I was so pleased to find one in bloom yesterday. I’ve been keeping an eye on those three patches for a couple of weeks. They have bloomed a little later this year as compared to previous years. I would have posted this last night, but my other news had me even more excited.

So excited, in fact, that I didn’t get much sleep last night because I couldn’t shut off my brain. I woke up early thinking about it too, so I did something most unusual for me – I got up. It was about 5:15 as I recall. I got dressed, went downstairs, got Penny’s leash, and we set out for Sandogardy Pond. Along the way, I spotted some beaked hazelnuts (Corylus cornuta):

Beaked hazelnuts (Corylus cornuta)

Beaked hazelnuts (Corylus cornuta)


Sandy, if you’re still wondering if you found American or beaked hazel, this would be a good time to go check.

I also found some Pyrola along the way:

Pyrola (Pyrola spp)

Pyrola (Pyrola spp)


I’m not sure what species of Pyrola this is – they are all pretty close to one another. Maybe roundleaf (P. americana), but I’m just not sure.

It was quiet at the pond. Foggy too:

Penny wades

Penny wades


I walked along the beach and saw that the floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) was in bloom now:
Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


It’s not hard to tell how it came about its common name, is it?

The swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris) had bloomed too:

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)


That can only mean that the pickerelweed should be blooming soon too.

At the end of the beach we turned right and headed into the woods along Cross Brook (which drains the pond). There is a patch of Indian cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana) growing there, and it’s been in bloom for a while now. But I don’t think I have posted any photos of it this year, so here we go:

Indian cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana)

Indian cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana)


This plant has a delicious tuber which tastes just like… yes – cucumber. If you don’t like cucumber, you should probably eschew Indian cucumber-root. I don’t eat much of it because there’s never much of it around.

Penny and I headed back home after that. I took a shower, and Jonathan and I headed to the office. I napped in the car a bit. I guess the walk helped me turn off my brain. 🙂

When we got home I went out and admired my Dewdrop blossom again. Then I went to the catchment pond where there’s a bit of Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata) growing. This plant has been threatening to bloom for about two weeks now. But today, I found a single blossom open (out of about two dozen).

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)


This flower is pretty closely related to wintergreen and pyrola, but it looks a lot more like pyrola. And like pyrola, it doesn’t present its best side to humans. That privilege is reserved for ants. I tipped the blossom upwards to get a shot of its innards:
Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)


Nice!