The native rhododendron is finally done blooming for another year, but the rains keep falling. I am thinking about shifting my priorities and starting construction on an ark in Lake Odonata!
Despite the wet weather, life goes on. This little fellow below is none the worst as he always has a shelter handy. The Box Turtle was working his way from the pond, across the gravel driveway, towards the wet meadow.
|(Photo by Nora Steele)|
Happy Independence Day everyone. Been another week of rain, rain, rain. But today was a beautiful Saturday to be out and about and a busy day here at Wahkeena. So busy that a post started at 9 AM is finally being written at 6 PM!
Green is not a color that most folks would associate with a fungus…but here it is.
And bright yellow can be found in several species as seen above and below. Above is a jelly fungi that grows on dead conifer trees. While below is one of the gill mushrooms.
The lead story is still the native rhododendron. The picture above is just steps away from the nature center back by the old guest cabin. Lots of flowers in full bloom, but still more to come. This appears to be a particularly good year and the recent cooler weather has helped to preserve the blooms for a longer time. They also seem to be holding up quite well in spite of all the rains….and we have gotten a lot!
The Common Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) seen above, is now a prominent flowering shrub in the landscape at Wahkeena. Next time you see Elderberry, take a closer look at the flowers and you will see that they are teeming with insect life- beetles, flies, bees and wasps. The large umbels of white flowers will later be replaced by clusters of dark berries- a feast for man and beast.
We have reached the last day of May and now the preserve is fully into the green and white period of the year. As soon as visitors walk down from the parking area, they will see this reflected in Lake Odonata. The surface of the pond is slowly closing as the water lilies leaves emerge and the large blossoms open.
|Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata)|
Near the nature center and along the tops of the sandstone ridges, the Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is now in full splendor.
|Mock Orange Close up|
Below is another introduced species that is much less desirable than the one above. Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) was first introduced to North American in the early to mid 1800’s for erosion control and as a root stock for ornamental roses. In the 1930’s it was promoted as “The Living Fence” as farmers were encouraged to plant it along the edges of their fields and pastures. But… Someone in the Department of Agriculture forgot to tell the birds to poop in straight lines along the field edges and it quickly became an unwanted invasive species!
The young Sassafras tree below has a stem that looks a lot like Spotted Joe- Pye Weed, a tall summer flower. As the tree matures the green stem will give way to a orange-brown bark
|Sassafras (Sassafra albidum)
Another “greenie” is the Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium). This Jack-in-the-pulpit relative has a concealed flower at the base of an enclosed structure called a spathe. The slender yellow structure is called a spadix and is a mechanism to encourage pollinator’s access to the hidden flowers.
|Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)|
|“Hey, what happened to the mouse?”|
As we approach the end of May, the spring wildflowers are slowly giving way to the green of summer. Some of the azaleas are still in good blooming condition, but the Pink Lady’s Slipper and Showy Orchis are fading fast. The late show of spring flowers includes Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) seen below. Aquilegia is from Latin and refers to the petals that resemble an eagle …you might have to squint to see it!