Friday, May 22, 2015

Remembering

I'll admit that September is not usually when I think about wildflowers. My photographic record clearly shows that, by September, the meteorological beginning of Autumn, I'm thinking about leaves turning color, fresh apples, and chrysanthemums. My Better Half notes that asters often are in bloom in September. Minnesota Wildflowers lists more than 250 native plants that bloom in September, so clearly I've been missing quite a bit. I'll be better organized and have an additional focus on wildflowers this September. I'll also try to get back to the Minnesota Goose Garden before the asters are past their prime.

New England aster (in October)
Photo by J. Harrington

Something I've noticed during the past few years is a lack of field guides organized by county or, better yet, by bioregion.  For example, the Sierra Club covers the entire "North Woods" of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan in one volume. Minnesota has a high degree of flora that are shared throughout the state, depending on habitat, but I've wondered how challenging it might be to try to identify the 25 most common trees, plants, reptiles etc. by county or bioregion. I have no doubt we'll return to this topic after I've finished with the blooming by season listing and compared that to the Chisago County list of plants. It seems to me that, as many of our lives drift further and further from direct links with the natural world (other than mowing the Kentucky blue grass lawn) it would make sense to try to localize our natural resources inventory as a way to provide an easier entry to going local, so to speak. On the other hand, I know there are ruffed grouse living in greater numbers north of here in the forests and south of here along the Mississippi River bluffs. Why there are so few to none here I haven't figured out yet. Things like that might complicate any "most common" approach, although the Minnesota wolves' range is still limited to northern Pine County and hasn't reached this far south, yet. Might it someday, he asked hopefully?

Enjoy your holiday weekend. Please remember why and for whom we have this holiday. I'll understand if you've better things to do than stop by and read. Of course, if it rains a lot, as noted in today's Writer's Almanac...

May opens wide


The rain that came down last night
in sheets of shaken foil while thunder
trundled over the Bay and crooked
spears of lightning splintered trees
is rising now up stalks, lengthening
leaves that wave their new bright
banners tender as petals, seventeen
shades of green pushing into sun.
The soil feels sweet in my hands
as I push little marigolds in.
Bumblebees stir in the sour cherry
blossoms floating like pieces of moon
down to the red tulips beneath
the smooth barked tree where a red
squirrel chatters at my rescued tabby
who eyes him like a plate of lunch.


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