Velvety leaves in a gradation of purple to green, with orchid-like little blossoms. Called deadnettle because even though it looks like a nettle, it doesn’t sting like a nettle. Apparently the flowers, leaves and stems are edible, raw, cooked or dried. Mint family. Native to Europe and Asia.
Purple Deadnettle, Red Deadnettle, Purple Archangel (Lamium purpureum)
We had a snowstorm that took out power in our neighborhood, so suddenly we had to quit working and also couldn’t do all our various other projects that require computer-staring. So we hunkered down, made a fire, (cheated by going out for dinner)…. but after the storm was over, the sun came out for an orange sunset on the sticky snow. We drove to the South Street bridge and it was so gorgeous…
Then the heat came back on during the night (yay!) and at dawn, we immediately went out to look for beautiful photographs. The sun comes over the ridge and touches the treetops first…
This last scene had a glassy surface, but my boot slipped into the river and made this rad ripple! A day of stunning sights. These are all of the Charles River as it divides Needham and Dover, MA… and all within five minutes of our house, which is so GREAT! And now, grateful for heat, light, and a way to upload my photos! Time to make some hot chocolate.
And if you’re wondering about the wildflower report: yes, skunk cabbage is up, blackened tops showing through the snow in some places, and plump and green in the swampy spring at Ridge Hill.
This plant is slightly furry with purple leaves which appear fused together around the stem. It grows in low wet areas. (I shot this from the boardwalk at Lake Waban.) It’s in the sunflower family! Native people used it to break fevers by heavy sweating, and it was a very commonly used medicinal plant in the 19th century for all kinds of ailments. The latin name perfoliatum comes from the way the stem appears to perforate the leaves. Native.
Common Boneset, Thoroughwort, Agueweed, Feverwort (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
This is a glory time for wildflower watching. Noanet Woodlands is peppered with blossoms. Plus I just found a wildflower I’ve never seen before, in the years I’ve been paying attention: a woolly sort of violet. (very exciting!)
The leaves are a different shape and the whole plant has a downy surface. I’m surprised to see it’s rated “common”! Generally found in dry, open spaces (but I found this plant in the woods). Native.
Ovate-leaved Violet (V. fimbriatula)
Bonus pictures: Lucy making short work of the horse jumps at Noanet Woodlands. I especially like the second one, where she appears poised for takeoff.
An early-blooming prairie flower. I took this photo while visiting Illinois and have discovered that Illinois is the southeastern edge of its range. (So it is not to be seen naturally in New England, but is cultivated in gardens.) It’s fairly rare in the wild because it requires an undisturbed prairie ecosystem, won’t grow in a plowed area. Buttercup family.
This year we were members of the Powisett Farm CSA and we loved it. When the season was over we signed up for winter shares, which was about 4 pickups in November and December. People would ask what could we be getting in mid-December?! This was the last share: squash and beets, carrots and sweet potatoes, parsnips and garlic, potatoes and kale, turnips and radishes, kohlrabi and celeriac, cabbage and onions and hot peppers! Love that place!
I found this growing by a dusty country road outside Charleston, Illinois, but apparently it is native from western New England to Michigan south. Fragrant flowers, pollinated by bees with long tongues, like bumblebees.
Wild Blue Phlox, Wild Sweet William, Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata)
This morning we took a paddle on the Charles River. This bit borders Cutler Park and is about 20 miles upstream from Boston Harbor. I was trying to take a picture of an egret farther away when I realized we were really close to this well-camouflaged heron hiding in the pickerel weed!
The closest I’ve ever been to one — thrilling surprise! So tall — I feel like it was head-level with me in the canoe. Later we saw another one which had caught a fish…
It flew off and I was not ready with right camera settings… so here’s a terrible blur of a great sight:
Great Blue Herons are about 4 feet tall. They eat mainly fish, but also crabs, insects, frogs, small rodents, snakes, dragonflies… Their favorite breeding areas are beaver swamps, and their favorite nesting areas are in the branches of dead trees down in the water. They mostly migrate, and come back to use the same rookery every year.
Bonus picture of the whole scene. An usually wide place in the river. Felt lucky to have a canoe, a beautiful day, this amazing place, and a friend to go with! and a camera!
It’s September already. Makes me want to think about a day in July, in the Meadow of Wonders, when it was so full of flowers! Mostly yellow coneflowers, bee balm in many colors, mugwort, thistle, crown vetch… Lucy looks like she’s enjoying the fragrance of the flowers, but she’s probably carefully considering the question, “When did a deer last pass by here?”