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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Morning Walk in the Woods (Corrected) and Spring Gardening Ideas

Everyone in and around Northport watches the spot along the highway south of town where a large colony of bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis, a member of the poppy family) blooms in early spring, but how did one lone plant come to be in the woods near my home, where I’ve never seen bloodroot before? Did it hitchhike in the body of a deer? I went back on Easter morning to check on my new neighbor again. The flowers weren’t any closer to opening, but this time I had my camera with me, so you can see my other blog for more photos of the little darling. But thanks to Gerry Sell at Torch Lake Views for setting me straight: this is not bloodroot! At Gerry's nudge, I checked out another possibility, and she was right, I was wrong.

Here is part of the description of round-leafed hepatica given by Harry C. Lund (Michigan Wildflowers in Color):
Usually many individual flowers per plant, each with many thread-like stamens in its center, and each borne single on a hairy flowerstalk; 3 hairy bracts that resemble sepals below each blossom.

Leaves are smooth with 3 rounded lobes; leaves persist through winter. At blossom time these overwintered leaves are present and have a brown-purple color. New leaves develop after blossom time.

Round-leafed hepatica, or liverwort, Hepatica americana, is a member of the crowfoot family, Ranunculaceae. The cowslip, or marsh marigold, is also in this family, and we should start looking for it in boggy places and along streams before too long.

All of us in temperate climates find our thoughts in spring turning to the birds and the bees—and the butterflies, too--and this season I'm happy to have at Dog Ears Books a new title to inspire and excite and energize us all for the work ahead.

This book emphasizes what you as an individual can do to protect and strengthen pollinator populations by guiding you through the steps necessary to manage or enhance pollinator habitat in your backyard, farm, school campus, or natural area. However, to protect pollinators for the long term it’s important to consider these species and their ecological role in a larger context, and to enact policies that protect them on a local, national, and international level.

We stand at a crossroad. Honey beekeepers lose unprecedented numbers of their honey bee colonies each year. Once-common bumble bees are disappearing across North America and Europe. Heavily developed agricultural and urban landscapes lack the habitat to support a diversity and abundance of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

- Attracting Native Polinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies. The Xerxes Society Guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2011

Another bad news story? No, the good news is that when it comes to pollinators and habitats to support them, you can do something, and this book tells you how. Your beautiful and entertaining butterfly garden will double as a bee garden, providing habitat for insects that do critical work to feed all of us. Presenting material clearly, with lavish color illustrations, this informative book is full of delights and surprises.


Gerry said...

I'm very taken with bees. Not so taken that I'm going to try to keep hives myself, as I am a wuss, but at least I like to encourage habitat for them. One of my beloved Civil War families listed "Beekeeper" as the occupation in one Census or another. I was enchanted. Just think what a service that was . . . talk about excellent treats!

P. J. Grath said...

I found another bloodroot photograph on my camera, featuring a bee. Must get that online somewhere, here or there. We have friends and neighbors with bees, and that makes me happy.

Dawn said...

I found a bee keepers boxes accidentally last year while out on a photo scavenger hunt on my bike. Cool, though I didn't get too close. And there's a house in town that advertises local honey which I've never stopped to check out though I should. Our little town is having a farmers market weekends this summer ! Can't wait because then maybe I can find more local stuff.

Well, that was a rambling comment totally not related to the post! :)

P. J. Grath said...

Dawn, I like a conversation that makes its own meandering, organic path--and I'm impatient for Northport's farm market, too.

Dawn Parker said...

Local honey is much, much better for you than the commercially made stuff.