Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Great Burdock

I think the one I found was big enough to ID it as the "larger" species. Also, as I pay more attention to insects, I've found that German yellow jacket and Western honey bee are the likely species around Madison.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I can't help but notice all the colorful wings around me! I'm going to make a better effort to ID butterflies in the prairie. It looks like now is a good time to see gray hairstreaks, variegated fritillary, purplish fritillary, etc.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Back to my curmudgeonly attitude toward strictly ornamental gardens: I don't like them! There are so many native, beautiful plants to choose from; why choose those that have no other purpose than pretty flowers?
flower pot near my apartment
Sure, the petunias and garden lobelias are pretty, but I'd rather see something with wildlife value in green spaces.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature

I went for a walk yesterday through lakeshore, as usual. (I tried to write this post through the iPad app, which needs some updating! There are very limited tools and the pics upload to a huge size...)
hairy sunflower
Anyway, this is such a fantastic time of year because everything is yellow! From the forest understory to the prairie, sunflowers and their relatives are in full bloom.
saw-tooth sunflower
There's a paler plant, though, that also won't go unnoticed. It forms the "over story" of the prairie this time of year, and grows to amazing heights.

pale Indian-plantain

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Finally got an ID for that tricky flower along lakeshore path!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Walk to Work

There are a few campus buildings I pass before I get to my office that have been decorated with ornamental plants, such as coleus, garden sage and non-native Rudbeckia cultivars. I've never liked non-native gardens, no matter how beautiful the flowers are. They've always looked so fake to me, and I've always been more drawn to natural places. I don't know why we're so obsessed with this well-maintained aesthetic, but there have been many essays written by better writers than me, so I'll leave it at that for now. I just don't think there's anything interesting about a "pretty" but otherwise useless garden.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

UW Lakeshore

This summer has been about paying attention to wildflowers for me. I've lived in the prairie for 2 springs already, and while I found them beautiful, I didn't go overboard trying to ID them. Finally, I decided to learn more about the local flora, and what I found was astonishing. Like birds, I assumed spring ephemerals were the name of the game, and summer would be a little boring. I soon realized I had no idea what I was talking about. The week-to-week turnover has kept me coming back to the same places as often as I can to see what's in bloom. Almost-daily flower walks have become my way to relax outdoors. I wasn't able to get to the restoration I like to visit in about 2 weeks, and I went back over the weekend to find it as colorful as ever.
nodding wild onion