Archives for posts with tag: nature

Sometimes the brilliance is tiny and hidden. If we look carefully and patiently beauty may surprise us, OOp….it’s everywhere.. (Milkweed Beetle, Lady Beetle, and Leafhopper on milkweed- Rebecca Arnoldi July 2020

Ants hang out around scale insects and other insects that suck plant juices. They feed on their sweet “honeydew” secretions.  They also sometimes feed on the insects themselves, helping the plant in this way. These are on Rosa Rugosa.

Horsechestnut flowers change color after being pollinated so that they are no longer attractive to their pollinators.

We talk about individual organisms as if there were such a thing. We are made of many. When we look at another organism, we look at an interdependent intertwining group. We need the bacteria inside us, the insects need the plants and the plants need the insects. We all need each other. If you, or I, ever feel lonely, we can remember we are always filled and surrounded by other beings. We are we.

Photo of insect (likely ladybug) eggs on Rosa rugosa by Rebecca Arnoldi

Today I don’t feel clear and bright and open to the sky like the leaves of grass in sunlight. Today I feel more like the dark deep shadowy soil and the violet that grows out of it. Veins looping a flow of sugar and water through thick heart-shaped jagged leaves and thin high stems. Purple petals hold sweetness. Some face the sky, some face the intimate earth.

Why do so many people hate this plant?

Garlic mustard like other “invasives” came from afar (Eurasia in this case). It thrives here and can take over an area. This plant, like many other “invasives”, grows well in areas disturbed by us. It’s roots put out a chemical that damages mycorrhizal fungi that other plants depend on. And deer don’t eat it.

BUT

Don’t worry if you have garlic mustard growing around you. It’s edible! And while it may be bitter it’s super high in vitamin C, E, Zinc, omega -3 fatty acids, calcium and iron.

I just had my first garlic mustard salad! The vinegar, oil and salt helped mitigate the bitterness.

If you do collect some to eat, don’t go too crazy, it has some compounds that might not be good for you in excess.

I say, let’s celebrate this resilient survivor from afar and let’s have some salad!

sources/ resources:

Peter Del Tredici, Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast; John Kallas, Edible Wild Plants

Maples are home; I grew up with four Norway Maples guarding the corners of the backyard.  One was also the swing tree; I found both wild freedom and peace swinging under that Maple. When it went down, my childhood sense of harmony and security shook.

Yesterday I walked around looking at tree buds and flowers, surrounded by all of the other corona virus social separation refugees. There were more than a few riding running talking yelling children with no school day on a school day.

I saw spectacular tree flowers. Many tree flowers are easy to miss: small and inconspicuous, pollinated by wind with no need for large showy petals, bright insect attracting colors and sweet fragrances.  Some, like the Magnolia, break that generalization down completely, and some, like the Red Maple fall somewhere in-between. Small but full of colorful splendor. And powerful in their symmetry.

I hope others are finding comfort, peace and inspiration in the beauty of Spring Equinox.

Happy Spring!

In cold dark times the seeds and spores are hiding in wait… the deep darkness is fertile. Moisture, warmth and light arrive as the sun nears. The trees’ seeds begin to germinate and the mosses capsules get ready to release the spores of spring. Happy St Patrick’s Day!

The story unfolds revealing all kinds of surprises. But if you don’t look around for a week or two in May, you miss it. This May I was obsessed with tree blossoms. One day I ran excitedly from Beech flower to flower; for the first time in my life I saw their bloom. At first I didn’t understand what I was seeing… many flowers hanging down and one pom pom like flower coming up in the other directions. Then I got it: The male flowers drooped down and the females flowers bloomed upward, pistils to the sky.

Last Sunday I hiked through a hemlock forest to a sunny hilltop. I looked at one oak tree and saw many inhabitants. There was a hole with mysterious scat, many lichens, some fungi, and inside a crevice there was a group of beetles sheltered from the cold. They appeared to be dark fireflies. Similar to light producing fireflies but with no light producing organs, these beetles live through the Winter. A tree is more than a tree. We are all more than ourselves.

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Photo by Rebecca Arnoldi

Thanks to the Boston Mycology Club and our fearless leader, Lawrence Millman, sixteen of us braved cold air and strong winds to see all kinds of fungi that are able to survive the drying cold winds. Most, like this Olive-toothed Polypore, inhabit wood. Wood holds more moisture than the ground does, and the real challenge of freezing temperatures and cold winds is the lack of moisture *( *Lawrence Millman)