The Jungle Indoors

On this March afternoon, clouds drift in sullen white-gray flocks, west to east. The sodden remains of last week’s blizzard litter the ground in ragged drifts, their undersides dissolving to slush faster than the tops melt under a disinterested sun. The warming ground and moisture are welcome, but the muck and disarray, on the heels of this very long winter, are not welcoming.

If I want greenery and the promise of another season, I won’t find it outdoors this week, not here…

Riven

The color of the wood caught my eye. Dull gold? Whitened tan? Honeyed beige? Light, in any event, blanched against the worn grasses and graying woodland litter. We were on the way back from a little hike, about a quarter of a mile east of the house. I detoured uphill to investigate, and when I…

Isn’t This a Long One?

January last seems impossibly distant. Memories from back then are round-edged and worn, like relics of a lost civilization. The pandemic was dawning, of course, although few of us in this country had a clue what was to come. Lockdowns, masks, grimly mounting death tolls? Other people’s burdens, far away. I was more concerned with…

Penstemons

Thirty days ago, I was inspired to blog the bloom by a prolific little flower I called “the little purple penstemon that blooms earlier than most of the penstemons” (kindly identified as P. virens by Susan J. Tweit in the comments to that post). Those plants have now gone to seed, but their larger penstemon compatriots…

Pioneers

Not all of our wildflowers insist on living “wild.” Pioneer plants are the first to colonize disturbed ground, including construction sites and burn areas. They help recover disturbed soil by stabilizing against erosion and shading tender seedlings. What makes them pioneers rather than weeds is their willingness to share space: rather than simply taking over…