Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fern Driveway, Milkweed, and Native Bees

It's a rainy cool Wednesday so thought I'd post some photos from the last two weeks.

Christmas Ferns November 6, 2009

Once the leaves fall, the Christmas Fern (Polystichm acrostichoides) is more noticeable since it stays green all winter (perhaps accounting for its common name).

This slope along our driveway used to be red clay before the ferns colonized it. I try to keep it in ferns by pulling out the multi-flora rose.

Common Milkweed November 6, 2009

There seems to be more milkweed along our road this year, all the better for the monarchs. Maybe it has something to do with the state budget cuts--less mowing. I wish they wouldn't spray or mow the roadsides--maybe just cut the tree saplings every few years. The insects would appreciate that.

The pods open up in October and were still opening up this week.

Carpenter Bee November 16, 2009

The temperature was in the 70s for several days so bees were still out. The only blooms I noticed were on this heather shrub (usually blooming in late February). Sweat and carpenter bees were seen on the tiny flowers. The carpenter bee does hibernate in the winter so he or she must have been trying to warm up before crawling back into their hole (probably in our house's siding).

I won't probably be getting out too much until after Thanksgiving--it's the deer firearms season. I read this morning that a Ferrum College student was killed by a hunter only one mile from campus. I wear blaze orange anywhere outside (unless I'm in town). While most hunters are responsible, it only takes one reckless person to create a tragedy.


  1. I read about that shooting also. What a TERRIBLE tragedy! I am hoping that the public trails around Blacksburg will be safe.

    And I am so happy you like the holiday cards. I only know what sells - not who buys - and I'm glad you were one of the buyers :)

    I am seeing a lot of the milkweed pods...they are so lovely...that whole cycle of the milkweed is beautiful.

    And I think i've been mis IDing the bee you have on this post all my life. Thanks for clearing that up for me :)

  2. Beautiful photographs. I'm with you totally on the spraying. We need those insects.

  3. love the light shining up the milkweed pods..beautiful shots.
    We were out birding and heard gunshots..most likely duck hunters. Luckily we were on a national wildlife can be dangerous out there hunting season.
    Have a great Thanksgiving

  4. I love your drive...My woods are similar and my walks are limited during the hunting season. Part of my childhood summers were spent in Virginia at my grandparents. Beautiful mountains!!!

  5. NCmountainwoman--yeah, also I wish they wouldn't plant alien species along the road too.
    Just fix our potholes (which they did last week).

  6. dAwN--I noticed some pods didn't open--maybe because of all the rain.

    Your comment reminds me of the time I went out birdwatching with the local club. The duck hunters were out there with us along the river. I was afraid they were going to shoot a duck as we were looking at it thru the binoculars!

  7. Wanda--yes, I should have also put the photos of the ferns on the moss rocks--maybe another post. Glad you have nice memories of Virginia!

  8. Holy cow, I don't blame you for not being out in the woods! Be careful, how horrible for the victim and the hunter.
    I love your milkweed photos! That would make an awesome sketch.

  9. I love your photos and deep appreciation for nature!

  10. We have hunters like that in Utah.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm a Virginia girl originally and still love the Appalachians, even though my husband who is from Wyoming refers to the Blue Ridge Mountains as a "nice park."

  11. Love to see the milkweed seeding for next season. I saw hundreds of monarch around Lake Michigan this year when I walked all the way around the lake.

    -Loreen Niewenhuis

  12. Stine in Ontario--thanks! Yes, I sure appreciate nature.

    mountain.mama--glad you stopped by also. I do love the Appalachians--they remind me of the Ozarks but mountains are taller. But, of course, you husband is right that the Rockies surpass the mountains in height and scale.

    Loreen--The milkweed is still dispersing seeds at least it was before yesterday's snow. Monarchs on Lake Michigan must have been a wonderful sight.

  13. I am with you in letting things grow in the ditches. I had some milkweed come up in my front flower bed, but it didn't bloom. I hope it comes back next year. I do have a few other kinds of milkweed I grow, too, but some of them don't always come back after the winter.

    I hope the hunters in your area are careful. My husband takes our dog to area lakes once in awhile. They need to be careful during hunting season, too. Heidi is ready to leave if she hears a gun go off.