Monday, October 02, 2006

Dampened Parachutes

I returned home from work today with just enough time to change clothes and shoes and grab the camera. I wasn't sure I'd take any pictures as it was raining but every time I leave the camera home, that one great shot appears that I'll never have a chance to see again. Some lessons, ever so simple, take a long time to learn.

I cut down the bank and noticed that the mildweed pods which had popped open so nicely Saturday morning seemed to have melted with subsequent rains into clumps of silk fiber. They'll dry and fly again by mid week but until then they aren't as interesting. Dampened silk parachutes do not fly well.

I stopped to check a monarch chrysalis I found a few days ago. Despite the cooler temperatures it has turned black with age and tonight I can see the black and orange of the folded butterfly inside. I suspect it will hatch tomorrow in my absence but I may be able to spot it flying by floating milkweed parachutes. Someone told me once that in Colonial times folks stuffed pillows with milkweed silk. It always seemed like a nice thought but the way it packs together it seemed like it would make for a hard pillow. It's been 386 years since 1620 so maybe standards of hardness have changed.

The Tall Goldenrod, Solidago altissima, and the Lance-leaved Goldenrod, S. graminifolia, still bloom in some places but they have turned to grey fluff in others. I always laugh when I see the new hybrids advertised in gardening magazines. My first wonder is if anyone every tried to pull a couple dozen out of their garden after they have gained a foothold. Many think the plant is the cause of their allergies but I think this is a fairly safe flower although some see it as just another weed. Mixed with phlox and asters, the color and height combinations are nice.

I walked down a trail I have been making parallel to Peacham Pond Road. It's in sight of the road but far enough back to give a sense that you're by yourself. My eye caught a group of Dwarf Rattlesnake Plantain that I thought I had lost due to uninvited missteps. It was nice to see it was doing so well with only a few rusted, crumpled leaves, pushed into the soft ground by a moose. Somehow I place no blame on where a moose steps but I raise negative thought to the steps of others I think should see better. Perhaps that's not fair and others just don't see the beauty I do in this little orchid.

The light was dimming and steam moved through the woods and meadows as the temperatures dropped. Just enough time left to check the lower hosta garden and then head for dinner.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where the loons now receive periodic dinner company from ducks coming down from Canada.

Fall gardening wishes,

George Africa

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