Sunrise on the Maumee

Sunrise on the Maumee

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ice Breakup

We awoke Sunday morning to open water on the river.  
It has since continued warm and rainy and the water is completely open and flowing high.
The last few weeks of winter are always the most difficult for me. 
Even with colder temperatures, it would be unusual for the river to refreeze.
The open water will attract birds migrating north and it will make all the difference.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


My elderly neighbor and I bond over nature.  
She phoned last evening to make sure I didn't miss the spectacular moon rising over the river.
I pulled the shade just in time to see the two raccoons who use our oak climbing out of their cavity.
They groomed each other for quite a while, then seemingly paused to admire the moon as well.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Native Bed Improvements

Many years ago I started adding native plants to my landscape.  At first it was because I didn't want to fuss with plants and natives need no fussing.  Gradually I came to appreciate the butterflies they attracted.  
Last fall, I went to a lecture by an entomologist named Douglas Tallamy who convinced me I needed to have as many native plants as possible for the sake of the native birds.
So, this fall I hired Susan Noblet - a native landscape designer.
She convinced me I needed to plant larger specimens and install deer fence.
I gathered the plants:
Smooth Aster
New England Aster
Little Bluestem
Butterfly Milkweed
Tall Coreopsis
Rattlesnake Master
My longtime landscaping company helped me clean the non-natives out of the beds and install the new plants.
Above is the cleaned East bed with the plants set out.
Below is the cleaned West bed with the plants set out.

Above is a view of the deer fence installed around the existing Spicebush (below the Pines) - they are currently about 3 feet tall,  even though they are at least 5 years old due to deer browsing.
We planted a Black Chokeberry inside the fenced area.
The East Bed with the deer fence installed is to the left of the wooden steps.

Here is the fenced in West Bed.
We've had some lovely rain to help the newly planted roots grow over the winter.
I can't wait until spring!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Winding Down

Friday we went to a corridor site - a non contiguous parcel of land the Metroparks purchased for it's ecological significance.  
This place is known as the "4-wheeler site".
We found what we were looking for - Drummond's Dwarf Bulrush - but it was past it's prime and not worth a photo.

Most plants have started to go dormant and lost their color 
- with a few exceptions.

The muted colors and texture of fluffy seed heads are beautiful in their own way.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fall Monitoring

We went to Wiregrass Lake to look for Variegated Scouring Rush.  
It is endangered in the state, but is thriving along a large stretch of the shoreline there.
The large rush in this photo is common Horsetail Rush.  
If you look closely, you can see a much smaller rush surrounding it.
If you look very closely, you can see two Ladies Tresses orchids - one on the left and one on the right margin of the photo.

Close up of Variegated Scouring Rush

Then we went across the street to what is known as the Jordan Tract - or what we monitors have renamed Gentian Meadow (for obvious reasons).
The population naturally fluctuates. 
Even though it was an off year, there were over 200 plants in bloom.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Just Fun to Say

We went looking for a new population of Fern-leaved False Foxglove last Friday.

We didn't find any, but we did find a healthy population of 
Downy Rattlesnake Plantain.

And we passed a bunch of Field Thistle.
It was popular with bees and this Great Spangled Fritillary.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Flowers and Bees

It has been a pleasant summer - not too hot, not too wet and not too dry - and so a wonderful year for the garden.
The Virginia Mountain Mint is now in four different places in the yard.

There is more Cardinal Flower than ever.
The hummingbirds flock to it.

The Butterfly Milkweed continues to spread.

Flowering Spurge - one of my favorites - is doing well in two spots in the yard.  This is the first year it has flowered, so I hope it spreads.

The bees are especially attracted to Bee Balm and Joe-Pye Weed... 

...and Swamp Milkweed