Skip to main content

Signs of Autumn

I spent a wonderful weekend outdoors enjoying the autumn weather and appreciating the changes it brings. Between camping at Pillsbury State Park and a brief visit to my land, I saw a lot of wonderful things. There's so much to share!

What's in flower?

The star attraction of a quick trip to my land this weekend was the first sighting of Bottle Gentians (Gentiana clausa)!
These flowers are interesting in that they never open. They are pollinated by insects that force their way inside.

Another exciting find at Pillsbury was Nodding Ladies'-Tresses (Spiranthes cernua). There are a number of Ladies'-Tresses species in New England, but this is the only one I've found so far:

They are small, subtle, and easily overlooked. But I find their delicate, almost transparent flowers beautiful. And I was lucky enough to see ~150 of them in a grassy, open area along a woodland path!


There are, of course, a great many aster species blooming this time of year. I am not yet at all good at identifying them, but I believe this one is Bog Aster (Oclemena nemoralis):

I certainly found it growing on the floating bog at Pillsbury.

What's in fruit?

Cucumber root (Medeola virginiana) has beautiful glossy black berries right now:


Hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) is the dominant understory shrub in cool woods like mine. These beautiful red berries follow the fragrant white clusters of flowers I enjoyed in the spring:

The leaves and twigs are food for deer in winter, and the fruit are eaten by chipmunks, squirrels, ruffed grouse, and other birds.

Clintonia (Clintonia borealis) is also known as Blue Bead Lily - can you guess why? :)

The berries look appealing, but are mildly toxic to humans and are reported to taste awful.

In a similar vein, white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) is also known as Doll's Eyes:


Colors of Autumn

The Purple Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia purpurea) are extraordinary this time of year. They have changed from a fresh, bright green to a vivid, veined purple/red, complementing the yellowing sphagnum moss:

These ones live on a floating bog in the middle of a large pond at Pillsbury, catching and digesting insects to compensate for the lack of nutrient-rich soil.

Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) is turning from green to a beautiful red:


As is Whorled Wood Aster (Oclemena acuminata)

The grasses along the pond formed almost a rainbow of color:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Land Like This One

On April 12th, 2019 I purchased six acres of hemlock-birch woodland in Windsor, NH. It is covered in boulders and moss and ferns and wildflowers and has a brook running right across it. There are areas of swamp, marsh, and dry woodland both sloping and flat. Plus an ancient outhouse :)



Less than two months passed from my first thought of buying land to close. I fell in love with it from the online listing. It was February, but the photos were from mid-summer. The second photo in the listing showed the brook lush with cardinal flower and ferns - that made me swoon. The third photo showed an enormous boulder - that stole my heart.

I visited for the first time in March. The snow was up to my knees, but I found the seed pods of an orchid species I had never seen before - that sealed the deal. I had to have it.



As the snow has melted, I have only fallen more and more in love with it. I'm an amateur botanist and a wildflower worshiper - this is my heaven.

I intend to share my adventure…

Signs of Spring

Spring comes late in my shady New Hampshire woodland - but it is finally here!

Three weeks ago, the land was still half covered in ice. This weekend, the first wildflowers are blooming, and more are on the way!

The sessile bellwort was the first wildflower I saw in bloom:

That surprised me - I expected the trailing arbutus to be first. But here it is, only in bud:
The first of the painted trillium was also blooming:

And tiny tiny golden saxifrage was flaunting its diminutive flowers. It takes a macro shot to see it properly:

The bluebead lily will be coming soon:

As will the goldthread, also in bud:

The platanthera orchids (Platanthera sp.) are emerging. I'm especially excited about these! From last year's bloom spike and seed pods, I was able to narrow it to something in the Platanthera genus, but I don't yet know which species:

I'm also watching this coralroot orchid (Corallorhiza sp.) - again not sure which species. You can see last year's bloom spike on the lef…

Trip Report: June 15

I spent a lovely, warm Saturday adoring my land and its inhabitants.





Isn't it gorgeous?


The northern wood sorrel is blooming (Oxalis montana)


And the cucumber root's funny-looking flowers (Medeola virginiana)


As are the pink lady's-slipper orchids (Cypripedium acaule)


I was really excited to find blue flag irises in bud (Iris versicolor). They'll be gorgeous soon!


I also found this crazy-looking fungi. It was poking up all over in the swampy areas. I haven't figured out what it is yet.


I always go there intending to get a bunch of things done, like improving the bridge and laying out trails, and then all I manage to do is adore the land. Oh well :)