Conifers

Red Pine (Norway Pine) Minnesota State Tree Eastern White Pine Jack Pine Balsam Fir White Spruce Black Spruce Tamarack (Eastern or American Larch) Eastern Red Cedar (juniper) Northern White Cedar Eastern Hemlock Bold type marks the seven trees in the list that I’ve identified in our area (so far); the three pines, a spruce, the …

Lakeshore Plants

Blue Lobela (Lobelia siphilitica) This native plant, also known as Blue Cardinal Flower, can be adapted to moist areas of gardens. Its species name, siphilitica, refers to its use by the Iroquois in treating venereal disease — a use that European studies failed to verify. Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) It looks innocuous, but Water Hemlock …

Morning on the Lake

In the three images above a beaver can be seen swimming across the lake, then raising his tail to slap the water, and finally the resulting splash as he submerges. It seemed like this beaver was intentionally showing himself to me and then swimming away — maybe to draw me away from the beaver lodge? …

Milkweeds and Butterflies #2

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) The long narrow leaves of Swamp Milkweed distinguishes it from other milkweeds. Its beautiful flowers make it a desirable plant in the garden and attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. As expected from its name, Swamp Milkweed is typically found near water in the wild. However it can thrive in an average …

Understory; Shrubbery #2, Gray Alder and Hazelnut

The perimeter of our lake has a nearly continuous natural hedge. The picture below shows this continuous wall of bushes rimming one of the lake’s islands. This bushy barrier at the water’s edge is predominantly Gray Alder. Gray Alder (Alnus incana) According to the Minnesota DNR, many smaller lakes and ponds in northern Minnesota are …

Lily Pads

Watershield (Brasenia schreberi) The pads of watershield are slightly smaller than other common lily pads, and they are more elliptical. It blooms throughout the summer, but we did not notice any of the smaller pink-purple flowers. Its most interesting and noticeable feature was a thick coating of very slippery mucilage (slime!) coating the underside of …

July Brings New Wildflowers #3 Yellow

Many different yellow wildflowers have appeared recently. So this is a longer post than usual. The first grouping includes four plants that have a “weedy” appearance. Despite this, their flowers are surprisingly attractive. Meadow Hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum); upper left of image This is an invasive non-native species relatively new to Minnesota. Like the related Orange …

Old Technology; Is Newer Necessarily Better?

Departing from the usual for one post to advocate an unconventional method to mow lawn — the old-style, non-motorized reel mower. I got one of these mowers for the first time about four years ago, and was surprised at how well it worked. Since then, I’ve used this type of mower a lot; the images …