wild, free, spontaneous

6.8.24 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden
eastern tiger swallowtail

These pictures are from another walk we took when we were still sick, the weather being so nice we pushed ourselves out the door. It was good to see even more things blooming.

wild bergamot
Canada lily (endangered)

We stopped for quite a while to listen to a Carolina wren loudly singing from a high branch just off the path.

Carolina wren

And I’m also glad we went because, finally, the lemon drop swamp azalea was blooming! It was back in January I first spotted the little buds and kept thinking it would bloom soon. I checked on it each and every visit, wondering what color the blooms would be. A lovely shade of lemon chiffon, perhaps.

‘lemon drop’ swamp azalea

I do miss my wild beach roses but down here I’ve happily discovered wild Carolina roses, also known as pasture roses. They look about the same to me!

Carolina rose with bee

For myself I hold no preference among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous.
~ Edward Abbey
(Desert Solitaire)

spider flower
tall thimbleweed

The very tall (up to 8 feet!) giant coneflowers towered over me!

giant coneflower
beebalm
woodland tickseed
white-breasted nuthatch
house finch

The height of a patch of native woodland sunflowers also caught my eye. Since I’m only 5 feet tall I guess I’m easily impressed.

woodland sunflower

And now, the weather is hot and humid, with no break in sight. But lots of flowers out there in the garden are surely thriving in it.

as spring becomes a memory

5.31.24 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden
common yarrow

May ended on a very pleasant note, with lots of sunshine, mild temperatures and no humidity! Since we knew these conditions wouldn’t last we went out for a walk, in spite of us both being sick with colds. Who knows when such perfect weather will come around again?

bronze fennel

And of course, it being ten days since our last walk, different things were blooming. It’s never the same garden twice.

golden tickseed
bee visiting English lavender
purple coneflower

When I watched the sun rise this morning, due east, I felt that the universe, the solar system, the earth, the year, the season, the day, were still in order, no matter what stupidities man might achieve today. It is good to know such things about the place you live. It is good to know that there are certainties.
~ Hal Borland
(Hal Borland’s Book of Days)

hemlock cones
woodland pinkroot
crow poison (poisonous to humans and animals)
common sanddragon dragonfly
phlox

The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.
~ Michael Pollan
(Food, Inc.)

hunting for cinnamon fern

4.2.24 ~ ‘old blush’ rose arbor
North Carolina Botanical Garden

It was spring vacation week so we had a chance to take Katherine with us on one of our walks at the botanical garden. Like her grandmother, she was enchanted by the rose arbor. And we finally saw tadpoles in the frog pond!

And of course we saw lots of flowers…

lobed tickseed
Florida flame azalea
Virginia spiderwort
bogbean
wild geranium (with tiny ant)
great white trillium

Katherine knows a lot about cinnamon ferns and she located some starting to come up in the Mountain Habitat (above). And then, in the Coastal Plain Habitat (below) she spotted some more that were taller and starting to unfurl. My granddaughter informed me that, among other things, cinnamon fern is the oldest species of fern on earth. (70 million years!)

learning about cinnamon ferns from Katherine
(photo by Tim)

Of course there were some birds to enjoy and a couple even paused for a photo or two…

Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal
he was feeding her but I couldn’t capture it!
northern cardinal
white-throated sparrow

What a blessing it was to share a beautiful day with our granddaughter, to share our interests with her and to have her share hers with us.

a quick peek at the botanical garden

6.13.23 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Late yesterday afternoon we snuck away and visited the Piedmont Habitat in the North Carolina Botanical Garden, a little side trip while we were out doing errands. I’ve been itching for a chance to use my camera. It was the first garden near the entrance so Tim didn’t have to do any strenuous walking. What a wonderful place! I’m looking forward to exploring all 15 gardens and the 4 nature trails in the coming months.

southern sundrops
whorled tickseed
smooth purple coneflower (endangered)
widow skimmer (juvenile) dragonfly
wild rose
northern leatherflower
northern leatherflower
butterfly milkweed (with insect)

It was a lovely and refreshing little break from house hunting!