Thursday, February 27, 2014

Need a Rain Garden?

I am taking the Washtenaw County Master Rain Gardener class, to continue my education. I will eventually be certified as a Master Rain Gardener, which requires I install a rain garden. As I am currently a condo dweller, this magical rain garden will be installed in some one else's yard. Possibly yours?

This guy also wants you to let me plant your new magical rain garden.

This caterpillar turns into a Black Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes).  Photo was taken in August 2012 in the Headlands.  Please get in touch with me if you are interested in a rain garden!

Monday, February 10, 2014

September 2013 Trip to Haven Hill

With the extreme temps and piles of the snow, reminiscing about a sunny adventure seems like a nice thing to do. Last September, Maria and I visited Haven Hill Natural Area, also known as Highland Recreation Area. The natural area has been relatively untouched for the past 75 years and is known to have a number of different ecosystems with some interesting fauna and flora.

We went for a sixish mile hike and saw many, many amazing plants. Luckily for this blog, we periodically stopped to photograph a few.

Please keep in mind in this post (and all future posts) that I am at best an amateur botanist. By botanist, I mean that I like identifying plant species that I see. If you notice a plant is incorrectly identified, please please definitely let me know. Although I am mostly confident my identifications are correct, I would be happy to be corrected as that would continue my learning process.

We happened about this Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica in the Campanulaceae family).

I initially thought this was a Heliopsis or a Helianthus.  But after looking at identification pictures at Michigan Flora for awhile, I simply did not find a conclusive id.  What do you think this is?  [EDIT:  Bidens aristosa in the Asteraceae family, big thank you to Nick Lauridsen for the positive ID].

I was happy to see this Turtlehead (Chelone glabra).

Down in the lowlands, we saw a bit of Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix in the Anacardiaceae family).  This sumac can be distinguished from others by its form, its leaflets are all perky and pointed upward, and by its location, it only found in wetlands.  I am grateful that this plant is only found in wetlands, as just like Poison Ivy, it produces urushoil, to which I am highly allergic.

I think this is Marsh Fern (Thelypteris palustris in the Thelypteridaceae family). The website, Ontario Ferns, is an excellent resource for ferns identification.

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin in the Lauraceae family) is definitely up there on my favorite plants. Shown here with its berries. Scratching any part of a plant will release a fresh lemony scent.

Looking forward to hikes and warmer adventures this coming summer for sure.