Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Bloodroot at The Center in Palos Park, IL

Today I went The Center, in Palos Park, IL. It is a wonderful place meant to recharge you spiritually, physically, artistically, and intellectually, and any other way you might need. The main buildings are nestled into a forested hillside, with cabins dedicated for learning new art skills, and cabins for camping. Across the street they have a farm with rolling pastures, dotted with sheep, cows, donkeys, and a couple of llamas that will protect the livestock from coyotes. A barn houses clucking chickens, horses, and a couple of pigs. Here kids of all ages can learn animal husbandry skills while spending time at camp.
While hiking around, I found patches of the Spring flower, Bloodroot. Under the pictures, I have included the description given by Mrs. William Starr Dana, in her 1893 book 'How to Know the Wildflowers'.

'In early April the curled-up leaf of the Bloodroot, wrapped in its papery bracts, pushes its firm tip through the earth and brown leaves,

bearing within its carefully shielded burden, the young erect flower bud.

When the perils of the way are passed and a safe height is reached, this pale, deeply lobed leaf resigns its precious charge and gradually unfolds itself;

Meanwhile the bud slowly swells

Into a blossom

Surely no flower of the year can vie with this spotless beauty. Its very transitoriness enhances its charm.

The snowy petals fall from about their golden centre before one has had time to grow satiated with their perfection. Unless the rocky hillsides and wood-borders are jealously watched it may escape us altogether. One or two warm sunny days will hasten it to maturity, and a few more hours of wind and storm shatter its loveliness.
Care should be taken in picking the flower--if it must be picked--as a red liquid which oozes blood-like from the wounded stem makes a lasting stain. The Crimson juice was prized by the Indians as a decoration for their faces and tomahawks.'

To Bee, or not to Bee

To bee, or not to bee...
The answer to that seems to be easy, and obvious. Of course we need, and want bees. Without them, we would be in big trouble. 
This is a problem that you can actually start to do something about. For decades Americans have been striving for that ideal weed-free lawn. But, the tide is beginning to turn back to the clover yards of the past. Clover is an excellent source of bee food, and it adds nitrogen to the soil. Dandelions are also a very important, early season food source for bees, and other insects.
I no longer use weed killers to the extent I had in the past. I will admit, that if I find a thistle where my barefooted gkids might run, I will pull it, and put a couple of drops of weed killer in the hole to kill the root.
I will sometimes sit in the grass and pull creeping Charlie. That is a weed I just can't be at peace with...and for me, pulling it is like therapy. 
Leave the dandelions now, and the bees will thank you later by pollinating your garden this summer.

Nom nom nom

You know you want to pull it...but don't. And, please don't spray it!

First one to bloom in my parkway today.

They really are kind of pretty.

Chorus frogs, Magnolias, Daffodils, and Forsythia

A little view into how my brain works. I have been starting to hear Chorus Frogs, but nothing like I did today. So, I immediately began looking around to see if anything else in the environment had also changed. I will then make mental notes, or write them down, or share them with you. I have included a link to Chorus Frog calls, and what I found today.

A Star Magnolia tree a few houses down bloomed today.

My daffodils around my pond bloomed.

And, my Forsythia began to bloom.