Thursday, May 31, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-31-12

This is a primrose that does very well in the front garden. I have not done well with the native Missouri primrose. We have a brief affair and then she leaves never to return
the next year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

FFTD Bonus Great Blue Heron 5-30-12

Great Blue Heron  Innsbrook Missouri 
Who has ever heard the song of a Great Blue Heron?

A Question About Birds
Billy Collins
I am going to sit on a rock near some water
or on a slope of grass
under a ceiling of white clouds,

and I am going to stop talking
so I can wander around in that spot
the way John James Audubon might have wandered

through a forest of speckled sunlight,
stopping now and then to lean
against an elm, mop his brow

and listen to the songs of birds.
Did he wonder as I often do,
how they regard the songs of other species?

Would it be like listening to the Chinese 
merchants at an outdoor market?
Or do all birds perfectly understand one another?

Or is that nervous chittering
I often hear from the upper branches
the sound of some tireless little translator?

From Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems by Billy Collins

Flower for the Day 5-30-12

This is the last of the peonies. They certainly unfold in a complex swirl.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-29-12

Peony week continues. Surprisingly this lumpy pink bud unfolds into a magnificent
flower head.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-25-12

White peonies for your Memorial Day week-end.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

FFTD Bonus May Apple 5-25-12

Remember the flower under the leaf skirt of the May apple? It is small and grows 
into a fruit- the May apple.. The apple is edible but the plant and  its roots are poisonous. It would take a large number of May apples to make a pie.

Flower for the Day 5-24-12

The peonies have been amazing this year.

Almost unreal.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-23-12

Blue-eyed grass  Sisyrinchium campestre. This striking plant with its miniature blossom is native to Missouri. It was found in the woods in Innsbrook and identified by Chip Tynan of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Although its foliage is grass-like it is in the iris family.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

FFTD Bonus: Clovis Points and the Martens Site 5-22-12

Clovis spear point in the hand of Richard Martens. 

While I was taking a course on Faulkner's novel, The Sound and the Fury, at Washington University's Life Long Learning Institute I asked my friend Richard Martens what he did in his "spare" time. It turns out that he is an amateur archeologist who has discovered and participated in excavations in St Louis County.

In 1968 Richard found artifacts on a  hill east of Olive Boulevard near Faust Park in west St Louis County. The hill, which was the highest surrounding point (670 feet above sea level), was on the bluffs of the Missouri River and the find resulted in an archeological exploration of the "Martens site" in 1997. This allowed for the location of a relatively
intact Clovis habitation site with subsequent recovery of over 38 Clovis tools. Study of the tools linked them to plant materials (soft  or woody)and bone, antler, and ivory. Site activities  were oriented not only to huntingbut also to agrarian manipulation of woody and other plant products.

Clovis is the name archeologists have given to the earliest (maybe not the first) well established human culture in North America. The Clovis people were the first big game hunters of the Palleoindian tradition. Their sites are dated from 11,00 to 10,800 RCYBP (Radio Carbon Years Before the Present). Thisconverts to 12,500 to 12,900 years before the present. As big game hunters they used spears mounted with Clovis points made from chert. Chert is a silica 
based rock that occurs in large beds or as flint nodules. Clovis points have been found in various areas in North America but not often in St. Louis County.

Martens and others have published extensively. For example:
Martens,RE, et. al. 2004 The Surface Collection from the Martens Site (23SL222) The Missouri Archeologist 65:1-43

Sometimes innocent questions bear amazing fruit.


Flower for the Day 5-22-12

Rose Campion  Lychnis Coronaria "Who can paint like nature?"


Monday, May 21, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-21 12

The wildflower garden continues to burst with color.

Coreopsis bloomed overnight.

Coreopsis  is in the Aster Family and the flowers have toothed tips. The flowers havea whorl of bracts with two distinct series of eight each.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-18-12

Delphinium  Also larkspur. In the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae),its name is from the Latin for dolphin which describes the bottlenose look of the flowers.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-17-12

Our newest wildflower garden now three years old. Photo  by Jan.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

FFTD Bonus 5-16-12

This little angel lost her feet to frostbite many years ago. Now she just sits on a 
mound of creek rocks and ponders her future.

I met a Traveler from an antique land,
Who said, "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them in the sand
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on those lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings.
Look on my works ye Mighty and despair!"
No thing beside remains. Round
The decay of that Colosal Wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelly  1818

Flower for the Day 5-16 -12

Weigela  This herbaceous bush was first imported to England from China in 1845.
This one is a hybrid named the Red Prince.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-15-12

This years Iris Winner - delicate ruffles with a striking combination of colors for the 
petals ,sepals, and beards.  


Monday, May 14, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-14-12

Siberian iris  Iris sibirica. This was a gift from Mariette and Dick Palmer, and has
been transplanted all over the wildflower garden rooms.

This delicate white iris was a gift from Professor Andrea Rothbart, our lovely neighbor,
and lives in a field circle.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-11-12

We need a break from all those flashy iris. Lily of the Valley has always had a very
calming effect on me. For the first eighteen years of my life I could see them outside the dining room window.
It is mentioned in the Song of Solomon (2:1): "I am the rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley". But for its simplicity, purity, and effortless splendor, I prefer Luke 12:27, "Observethe lilies, how they grow. They neither labor nor spin. And yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was as beautifully dressed as one of these."
Have a wonderful Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-10-12

This clump of iris is in a field circle

This is a nice beard.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

FFTD Bonus - Entrance to our Paths 5-9-12

Behind our field there are walking paths which are available 
for informal visits.  You are welcome to enjoy the gardens and
the natural setting which includes a creek bed. Photo by Jan.

Flower for the Day 5-9-12

Iris week continues. 

How do horticulturists produce these cultivars?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-8-12

Bearded iris with alternate white bottom and top, and ruffles for the ladies. 


Monday, May 7, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-7-12

The iris are beginning to wind down but for depth of color you cannot beat them.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-4-12

Hesperis  This tall plant with striking purple flowers has many names including Dames Rocket, damask violet, summer lilac, night scented gilliflower, and mother-of-the-evening. For years I thought this was early blooming phlox. Hesperis has alternately arranged leaves and four petals per flower while phlox  has opposite leaves and five petals per flower.

Hesperis is Greek for evening.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

FFTD Bonus Polar Bear Mystery Adventure 5-3-12

You may remember that last summer my son Lee Sessions was on a canoe expedition on the Lorillard River in arctic Canada when a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) surprised them 
in their tent. These images show the curious bear turn into a predator. Initially the bearwho has retreated because of noise from the paddlers returns to the rivers edge. His
head is up and his ears are forward.

At some point his ears go back and he starts sniffing around.

He swims the river toward the camp. His ears are definitely back.

Now he is on high alert and intent. His head is down. His ears are back and he begins advancing.The following information is from Jim Gallagher, retired Us Forest Service biologist, who was on the trip with my son Lee.
The polar bear is the world's largest land predator. It combines the attributes of being immensely curious as well as being absolutely fearless. Because of this the polar bear 
is respected, feared, and accepted as a part of life by the Inuit.Paddlers under these circumstances must be prepared for interaction. Possible ways to prepare for a bear surprise include posting a watch or having an electric fence. Once 
contact has been made, possible deterrents include yelling, banging pots and pans, airhorns, bear bangers, and the use of pepper spray. Because this apex predator is fearless
and can be aggressive and dangerous, having firearms with non-lethal and lethal ammunition is important. Locals who live and work in polar bear country carry fire arms. In telling their 
story to the local Inuit of the hamlet of Chesterfield Inlet Lee's group felt fortunate that no one in their group was injured. The Inuit heard the story in a very matter of fact way and couldn't 
wait to  tell their own polar bear stories.

Other bonuses and flowers can be found on my blog:

Flower for the Day 5-3-12

The iris continue to bloom.  Each bearded iris has multiple beards. 


Flower for the Day 5-2-12

Celandine Poppy  Stylophorum dyphyllum. Also wood poppy and poppywort.
This is native to Missouri growing well in the shade. It has been blooming for
over two months.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Flower for the Day 5-1-12

Columbine  After my cataract surgery last week I looked up the driveway and saw 
these blue technicolor flowers in my neighbors yard.They are standard columbines in a rare and stark blue.