Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mushrooms growing out of the bottom of a potted Fern

Pat and Amanda have some interesting plants in the window of the Tech Office. They've been fighting ants, who seem to like living in potted plants. These mushrooms growing out of  Amanda's Fern suggest moisture and a significant organic component to the soil. I know nothing else about it....only that I like it.

Lindera obtusiloba....they are having a good spring

Lindera, a genus in the Laurel family, Lauraceae contains a number of good ornamental shrubs. Here on the east coast, we have only Lindera benzoin, Spicebush, an unassuming but pleasant dioecious shrub of moist woodlands....a host plant for the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly. L obtusiloba is an undemanding shrub, obviously spectacular in flower. This plant, flowering now, is in the Asian Collections along the road adjacent to the triangular island bed.

Talons over the ellipse: It always seems like such a waste when a hawk eats a snake

I mean, they both eat rodents!!! like voles. Why couldn't the Red-tail have eaten a nice rabbit or maybe...well I don't know but there you go. This capture took place just about in the shadow of the Capitol Columns and was witnessed by several groups of visitors; it was a wonderful day and a lot of people were out.

Every year we have a number of breeding pairs of Red-tailed Hawks; Michael tells me ther are two pairs in the Native Plant Collections, there's always one in the woods across from the bathrooms at the Grove of State Trees, another that lives on Hickey Hill and hunts the open meadows surrounding Springhouse Run, and there is this pair that lives in the Beech Woods across from the Capitol Columns.

They, rightly, have no fear of me. I have chased one or both of them around on foot and they're content to sit on a branch 30' above me to all appearances, oblivious to my presence. One rainy day this spring, I actually took a branch and pounded on the tree they were both in to try to get them to fly or even look down. Nothing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

There was no fog this morning; this is steam rising from the mulch piles generated by the exothermy of composting

Tne newly chipped wood and greenwaste were steaming crazily this morning....just the right combination of heat generated by the composting process, moisture in the piles, and cool air temperatures. I have pictures similar to this taken in Hawaii around volcanic vents. This is largely just steam though (no toxic vapors). Sometimes piles do heat up enough to ignite but not this one today.

Lynn was at the brickyard this morning and recalled an interesting idea that Dr. Cathy, retired director of USNA, had conceived. Namely that we ought to build a roof to cover the piles with a dragon head at one end so that on these kinds of days, the steam would vent through the dragon's mouth. I wish that had been my idea.

Cedrus atlantica....nice cones

Yesterday the contractors dismantled the Blue Atlas Cedar that had fallen across the pathway. Today Neal, Amanda, and I opened China and there was no opium involved. We just removed 5 or 6 leads of Cedar branches, logs, and twigs. The cones, pre-opening, are striking.

Magnolia denudata flower

One flower is breathtaking. You ought to see three trees full. Or smell them. This weekend or next would be a good time to come to the Arboretum to see early Cherries and early Magnolias and....

Cornus mas at the entrance to the path to the Pagoda

Cornelian Cherry is one of the most underrated early spring shrubs.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Prunus mume 'Peggy Clarke' , 'Rosemary Clarke', and Corylopsis gotoana flowering in the Japanese Woodland

The flowers of early spring are upon us. The top picture is in the Japanese Woodland, the Iris reticulata are outside the Morrison Garden in the Azalea Collection.

The sun rose today at 7:20; two days ago it rose at 6:23

I'm not a big fan of daylight saving's time. I'm not going to rehash old grievances or revisit old diatribes, but I will admit that if we hadn't set the clocks forward Saturday night I would've missed this odd scene and that would have been too bad.