misty hibiscus palustris

8.4.20 ~ Beach Pond

Before Tropical Storm Isaias arrived on Tuesday, and after filling the car with gas and dropping off our mail-in primary ballots, we went down to the beach and the turtle pond for an early morning walk. We never lost power here, in spite of the high winds, but I see on the news the rest of Connecticut was hit much harder.

swamp rose mallow and common cattail

Unfortunately the storm didn’t bring much rain here, which we could have used because we’ve had so little this summer. In these pictures you can see that Beach Pond is almost dried up, all that remains are puddles and mud. Normally there would be lots of blue-gray water behind these wildflowers.

swamp rose mallow and common cattail

My heart always skips a beat when I see the swamp rose mallows are blooming! They seem to be a perfect shade of pink. When I was little, pink was my favorite color. My parents even let me paint my bedroom walls pink. Blue has replaced it as my favorite color in adulthood, although I think you could call the muted shade on my current living room walls a dusty rose.

purple loosestrife
swamp rose mallow (hibiscus palustris)
8.4.20 ~ Eastern Point
rabbit-foot clover

Down at the beach I noticed these curious tiny puffy pale pink flowers (above) growing between the rocks. And there was a solitary gull (below) letting the waves wash over his feet. You can tell the wind was just starting to pick up from his ruffled feathers.

ring-billed gull

After taking the online Joy of Birdwatching course at The Cornell Lab Bird Academy, I took their suggestion and joined the “Connecticut Birds” Facebook group. It’s a private group with about 6,500 members and you cannot share the beautiful pictures other members submit. What a treasure trove! And the members are so helpful when you need assistance identifying a bird.

non-breeding male or juvenile mallard

Even if you don’t know you need guidance! Back on June 24 I saw a solitary eider swimming in the river and honestly thought it looked like a juvenile loon. But someone in the group suggested it was a female common eider and that she had never seen one before! I looked it up and agree with her identification. At first I thought this bird was another common eider but now I’m going with a non-breeding male, or a juvenile, mallard, unless I get corrected again. 🙂

20 thoughts on “misty hibiscus palustris”

  1. How lovely! I used to have access to a summrcottage about 20 years ago, in a landscape like Brevik – but mutch wilder, only a few cottages. And the Juncus Effusus – the brown thing – is called “Downy rolling pin” in Norwegian. A treasure to caress for a little girl. Your photos took me there, and the ducks – are there still many of them? we used to see common eider – and a lot of seagulls ( former angels :))

    1. Thank you, Nina! Sometimes I daydream about spending a summer in a cottage by the sea in Norway. I think the scientific name of the cattail is typha latifolia, but I’m no botanist. 🙂 “Downy rolling pin” is a great description! I don’t know if I’ve ever actually touched one. (I once read somewhere that the Norwegian word for dragonfly means “eye poker.”) This is the first year I’ve ever seen the eiders. Maybe their range is changing with the climate.

      Thanks for jogging my memory about the former angels! 🙂 I have a gull friend with a mangled leg. I’ve posted many pictures of him over the years. https://www.ingebrita.net/2017/07/an-old-friend-returns/

  2. Interesting that your favorite color changed from pink to blue, Barbara. And that you have taken that birdwatching class. It sounds so up your alley. Glad to hear that you didn’t get much damage from the storm, even though more rain would have been welcome. Our son and his wife just missed losing their power–all the towns around them were without electricity.

    1. I’m still surprised that we didn’t lose power or see any fallen trees here. The rest of Connecticut was badly hit. Some still don’t have electricity, three days later. I finally got in touch with my sister yesterday, an hour north of here. They lost a lot of trees and there is one hanging over the driveway. They’re on a waiting list for someone to come remove it. Glad to hear your son and daughter-in-law were lucky and are okay and didn’t lose power. 🙂

  3. I love the color AND the name – ” Misty Hibiscus Palustris.” Sounds like a Harry Potter spell! But I bet walking amidst all of this loveliness puts you in a delightful spell. We had hoped for more rain from the tropical storm, but got mostly high winds and lots of power outages. So, we’re out there watering every day to keep our flowers (and birds – I just saw a hummer on our new guinea impatience) happy. xo

    1. 🙂 I added the misty because it was a misty morning and it seemed to go with the Latin name! It does sound pretty spellbinding and magical all together. My sister’s power is still out from the storm, three days later. They’ve been busy cleaning up the yard and waiting for a professional to come remove the tree hanging over the driveway. I bet your new guinea impatiens loves this weather and your frequent watering! ❦

  4. Oh wow, Barbara, these are beautiful flowers you have growing beside the beach. I’m sure we don’t have anything that gorgeous and delicate over here at our beaches, at least not in my area.
    I used to love pink too, but I never grew out of the love. I find it a calming colour. Blue is lovely too. 🙂
    The common elder is a very pretty lady. <3

    1. The swamp rose-mallow loves the soggy wet area around that pond. I had never seen one before I moved down here 27 years ago and I’ve never seen them anywhere else, although I don’t visit many swamps and ponds. But according to my field guide they are native to Connecticut. I find them dazzling! 🙂 I hope I will continue to see the eiders. You know, after I posted this I realized I am also quite fond of some deeper colors like eggplant and burgundy. ♡

      1. That explains why I haven’t seen anything like your swamp rose-mallow here! They are indeed dazzling flowers.
        I think all colours have their special place in nature. 🙂

        1. So true, and each season seems to have its own special colors. The first time I saw the swamp rose-mallow I thought it looked tropical and somehow out of place here in New England. But I’m glad we have it! 🙂

  5. Your photos of the flowers with the sea as a backdrop are pretty. We have common cattails here and we have eider ducks, but your other flowers and birds are new to me. I’ve heard of mallow, but to my knowledge they aren’t around here. Glad you kept your power during the storm. A blessing.

    1. Thank you, Ally. Having our electricity now is definitely a blessing, thanks to our small independent city utility company. Last night on the news they said some Connecticut residents will still be without power into next week! The governor is launching an investigation into why Eversource wasn’t better prepared. Meanwhile, I’m grateful to have air conditioning and plenty of natural beauty to enjoy when I do go out there! It’s fun seeing pictures of flora and fauna from other parts of the country and the world.

  6. I planted a mallow some years ago and it grows and looks healthy enough, but doesn’t flower. Rarely I will see it in the field and it makes my heart skip, too. 🙂 You are correct about the purple loosestrife, and the other purple one is pickerel weed, a favorite of mine. This was a lovely post~just what I needed this morning!

    1. Perhaps it needs a swampy environment to thrive? These grow along the edge of a pond in mushy soil with turtles, reeds and cattails… Thank you so much for the plant identifications! 🙂 (I will edit the text.) I bought a wildflower guide but I still have trouble distinguishing them from each other. You’ve been in my thoughts the past few days as your community is going through so much turmoil.

      1. Thank you Barbara. It is so sad, and it just keeps snowballing. I really appreciate your thoughts!
        The mallow, when I planted it, was in a rain garden that I created. With the big rains we’ve started getting, it never drained. I’d have 2 feet of water standing there all summer long! Then the neighbor did some draining on her property and it magically pulled the plug on our property as well. Sad news for my mallow and button bush, great news for our basement.
        You’re very welcome with the plant ID> I’ve been fortunate to spend time in the field with botanists. Left to my own devices I’m hopeless.

        1. Wow, the internet is a marvelous thing! I had never heard of a rain garden before so I googled it and found an abundance of information about and pictures of them. That’s too bad your mallow and button bush lost their perfect home, but as you say, at least your basement is happy now. Fascinating how plants, in order to survive or thrive, they all need different amounts of moisture, temperature, sunlight and different kinds of soil. Much like people with all our differing preferences and needs. It’s a daunting challenge trying to create a society that works for everyone. I’m going to keep an eye out for any rain gardens I might see around here!

          1. How fun that you’ve discovered rain gardens! They aren’t supposed to hold water as long as mine did. It was more of a slough! And now a dry bowl. Oh well. As you say, it seems difficult to craft a society where all can thrive but the thing that frightens me is the rising urge to exert control by a few over all the rest.

          2. I hear you. We are living in some very frightening times and the power struggle is so worrying. Sometimes I wonder if we’re careening towards another civil war. This morning the humidity is gone for a bit so the air-conditioning is off and the windows are open. The birds are singing and crickets are chirping. Small bits of peace to temporarily soothe my disquiet.

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