This woodchuck or groundhog was out for a morning nibble of clovers. This critter – often considered pests – are extensive diggers – and eaters. We have had at least one family for many years. They consume plants, fruits, tree bark… Their hibernation is celebrated every February.
I wonder if these will go through the metamorphosis to become the Monarch butterflies that migrate. Here is a link to a National Geographic video clip on the Monarch migration. “Commonly fewer than 10% of monarch eggs and caterpillars survive“. Despite having dozens of milkweed plants, I have only seen a handful of these caterpillars this summer.
This delicate looking blue flower, a member of the aster family, appears along nearby Wisconsin roadways this time every year. It’s known as blue daisy, blue dandelion, blue sailors, blue weed, bunk, coffeeweed, common chicory, cornflower, hendibeh, horseweed, ragged sailors, succory, wild bachelor’s buttons, wild endive, and witloof. The plant favors lime-rich soils but tolerates a variety of soil types. The ground-up root has been used as a coffee substitute. It’s leaves are edible and is used in European salads. Chicory is described as having a variety of medicinal applications. As you look closer and closer, the flower reveals it is more and more intricate. Like so many things of beauty, the flowers are short lived and open only during the daylight hours of their liking.
Tall garden phlox (Phlox paniculata hybrids) lives in many area gardens. This stand in my yard is about three feet tall. The hummingbird moths, butterflies and pollinators love the flowers. I thought with all the rain this year there would be a lot of powdery mildew; however, it hasn’t manifested. Maybe all the wind helps. It is a perennial who likes full sunshine. Phlox can typically stand up to some deer and clay soil. The plant also has a mild, sweet fragrance. It makes a nice cut flower, too.
Persicaria polymorpha, White Fleeceflower or White Dragon Fleece Flower, grows in USDA zones 3-9. This photo is from a stand growing in the MN Landscape Arboretum. The plant is quite tall; over three feet. It seems to have originated in China or Japan. The white flower has an intriguing texture; however, the fragrance was not especially attractive (to me). There are diverse descriptions of growing the plant, so it must grow and adapt in a variety of conditions.
Yellow Jewelweed, Impatiens pallida, or Touch-Me-Not, (Balsaminaceae) is a native to this area of USDA growing zone 4. I will have to watch for the plant to fruit because the seed pods are said to be extremely sensitive to touch. It has a pretty blossom with dapples of red in its throat. It is very “juicy” when the stem is broken. “Thin and oval to elliptic, the pale green leaves are about 1 1/2 to 3 inches in length. The leaves of the plant “have an interesting water-repelling quality, causing moisture droplets to roll around on their surface like little beads of mercury catching the morning sun.” The plant seems to like partial sunshine and somewhat wet conditions. This plant was about three feet tall. It looks a lot like a snap dragon on a big leafy plant.
We all flower at different times; different seasons, but, beauty can be found in any stage. This Penstemon has just about finished with its blooms. You can see one or two flowers hanging on, pictured at the bottom right. My friend Suzy pointed out the beautiful seed pods growing in the wildflower garden at the MN Landscape Arboretum. Penstemon is also known as False Foxglove or Beardtongue and is a native perennial and a part of the foxglove family.