Spring Haikus

Reminiscing on some Haikus from the past. These seemed a good way to honor spring and welcome summer.

March
Quivering seed pods
Last year’s fruit, This year’s promise
Red buds produce life.

April
April ‘to Open’
Birds beckon, flowers unfold
Hope, re-birth, re-new.

May
Dampness Awakens.
Slow green shoots appear and grow.
Spring bursts in splendor.

How goes butterfly
So gaily in morning dew.
Quiet. Elusive.

Surf booms, with great roar.
Coquinas ride waves to rest
On white, clean beaches.

Pelicans I
Spring aerial art.
Wheeling, gliding all in sync
Pelicans migrate.

Pelicans II
Spring aerial art
Banks, wheel. Dive. Glide in sync
Pelicans migrate.

Mountain tall, distant
Shelters small creatures that live
In harmony there.

Laughter tumbles free,
From souls to the earth.
Children, living gifts.

Understand
Begin where we are
Understanding nuances
Plain talk ease nerves.

Butterflies Galore!

Swallowtail

Joe-Pye Weed can grow to great heights and is a favorite of butterflies and other pollinators.

Carol Lampe shared these pictures and write up of her wondrous yard and the pollinator action on Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum).  This is a particularly valuable fast food stop for migrating butterflies as it lasts into autumn. We have found it a bit difficult to start and then it takes off!  Give it plenty of space and enjoy the butterflies.

“Here is a butterfly twofer from my flower bed.  In the forefront you can see the female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) sitting on a Joe-Pye Weed. There were several Swallowtails out there that day.  

“Joe-Pye Weed is an herb and the butterflies really seem to like it.  Native Americans, and later, white settlers, made much use of Joe-Pye Weed. Teas of the roots or tops were used as a diuretic, as well as for rheumatism, gout, fevers, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, and even impotence. Modern science has not confirmed their efficacy.

Red Admiral and Yellow Swallowtail

Sipping nectar on Joe-Pye Weed.

“Tucked toward the back is a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).  The males are territorial and many times can be found in the same location day to day.”

Thanks, Carol, for sharing your wondrous yard with Winding Pathways.

Purple Coneflower

One of our favorite wildflowers at Winding Pathways is the purple coneflower. It’s named for petals that radiate backward in a cone shape. The genus name Echinacea means “hedgehog” in Greek and derives from the prickly seed head that forms in late summer and persists into winter.

Native to woods’ edges and clearings throughout Eastern North America it has been widely planted and is now common in natural areas and cultivated yards across the continent. There are many coneflower species but the purple is probably the best known. It’s a gorgeous plant that pollinators love, is in bloom for a long time, and is amazingly easy to grow in both formal and naturalistic plantings. Deer seem to leave them alone. Few wildflowers are as well suited to backyards, especially those that have some sun.

Many people claim medicinal value from Echinaceas, but scientific evidence is mixed and uncertain. Enjoy it for its beauty, ease of growing and pollinator benefit.

A simple and free way to establish this perennial is to is to glean seeds. Keep an eye out for blooming coneflowers this summer in places were collection is allowed and return in the fall.  Wearing leather gloves rub the prickly heads between fingers into a bag to free the seeds. Then, immediately scatter them in appropriate places in your yards. Coneflowers love moist soil and partial to full sun.

Coneflower seed is readily available at garden stores, and many nurseries sell potted young plants. Usually purple coneflowers bloom the second growing season after planting and need little care.

Two of our favorite nurseries for plants native to the Midwest are Ion Exchange and Prairie Moon Nursery.