Lotus Pod

American Lotus Seed Pod, Nelumbo lutea

American Lotus Seed Pod, Nelumbo lutea


All parts of the American Lotus are interesting to explore photographically. Everything from the leaves to the flowers and even the seed pods. I just stumbled across this picture from 12-years ago and decided to work it up.

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Wild Plum

Wild Plum, Prunus americana

Wild Plum, Prunus americana

I found this plum blooming on April 29th. It’s in a thicket that is in a fence row near our barn. Working up pictures like this has me excited about Spring. Just a few months away!

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Osage Orange

Osage Orange, Macular pomifera

Osage Orange, Macular pomifera


On a walk at the PGT this time of year you might come across some lime-colored softball sized fruits. They come from the Osage Orange tree. The fruits are heavy and solid and tend to last all winter until the squirrels chew them apart.
The Osage Orange wood is the hardest and most rot resistant wood that occurs here. I’m told it was prized by Native Americans for making bows.

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Smooth Sumac

Smooth Sumac

Smooth Sumac


Fall is changing the PGT landscape from green to golden-brown. We are just starting to see patches of red and orange. Sumacs are always great for saturated reds. They are just starting to turn this week. This one is called Smooth Sumac or Rhus glabra.

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Early Fall Color

Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida

Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida


I’m starting to see hints of Fall color in the woods at the Prairie Garden Trust now. I photographed these dogwood leaves in the South Forty woods this morning. In two or three weeks the colors should be peak.

It will be a perfect time to come out and take a hike. By then our new paved trails and parking lot should be ready too. Please come and enjoy the property!

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Favorite Places

The Point

The Point


One of my favorite places at the PGT is “The Point”. It is a rocky outcrop that overlooks the Hiller’s Creek Valley. This morning I got this photo of a huge rock at The Point that looks like it could tip over and crash down the bluff at any moment. I suspect it hasn’t moved in thousands of years. It certainly hasn’t budged since we moved here in 1970.

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Goldenrod Prairie

"Dogleg Prairie" South of the PGT Visitor Center

“Dogleg Prairie” South of the PGT Visitor Center


Goldenrod is at peak bloom now at the Prairie Garden Trust. People mistakenly believe that goldenrod causes fall allergies. Ragweed is a more likely source for the problem. Ragweed has green flowers that are easy to overlook. Goldenrod has very showy flowers that bloom at the same time as the ragweed hence it gets the bad rap.

This photograph was taken this morning with my new camera. It will look perfectly sharp printed 30-feet wide.

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Monarchs are Good – Other Butterflies Missing

Monarch Butterfly on New England Aster

Monarch Butterfly on New England Aster


We saw about 20 Monarch Butterflies on a walk this afternoon. Their number seem about normal for their yearly migration. Other butterflies were almost totally missing.

This has been a perfect year for the plants that butterflies feed on. I’ve never seen so many wildflowers at the Prairie Garden Trust. However, my sense is that the population of all the resident butterflies and swallowtails is down by at least 90%. I hope they recover next year.

Silent Spring for butterflies?

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Indian Grass

Indian Grass, Sorghastrum nutans

Indian Grass, Sorghastrum nutans


The grasses in the prairie are especially showy right now. With all the rain we’ve had this year they seem taller than normal. The problem is that they flop into the walking paths. If you are walking early in the morning the dew on the grasses will get you sopping wet.

This picture from this morning shows the flower heads in a stand of Indian Grass (aka Sorghastrum nutans).

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird


On a walk this morning I heard the chatter of hummingbirds near the edge of Beaver Lake. As I went to inspect I found them feeding in a patch of Rose Turtlehead. The hummingbirds are starting to migrate south. In a few weeks they will all be gone.

Rose Turtehead (aka Chelone obliqua) is a great native wildflower for rich wet soils

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