A fungus in our midst

This is to show a bit of its ecological context – Virgina creeper, Japanese honeysuckle, and poison ivy growing immediately beside it; a few feet away some young oaks, sweetgum, and wild cherry, and about twenty feet away, yellow pine.
Mature fruiting body
Recently emerged

Elephantopus tomentosus

Woolly elephant’s foot, or Devil’s Grandmother (I wonder how it got that name?) – these pictures were taken towards the end of its bloom, mid-August, 2022. The flower stem is about 10 inches tall, with leaves growing in a rosette at the base, flat on the ground (perhaps as if flattened by an elephant?).

Fowl Follies

Guinea showdown – the darker (pearl) male, recently snuck into the pen, in his first confrontation with a white male. The lavender guinea in slightly behind the white-plumaged male is the mate to the pearl.

After the first confrontation the lavender and pearl mated pair is reunited (guineas tend to mate for life)

Sweet Pea cannot hide her consternation when the guineas become combative.
Second confrontation – look closely at the two guinea fowl on the left. They have their wings raised in a defense/attack/intimidation posture. Whether or not it is their intention, this makes them appear much larger; it may also help launch them towards each other.

The pearl guinea was removed later that night. He resides outside of the pen, and to this day remains separated from his mate. Perhaps one day they will be reunited.

Frog pond

09152018 pond
September 15, 2018. Carpet pond. It was surrounded by boundless elderberries, and the shade they provided allowed frogs to breed all summer. We had tadpoles up through October!

10152018 frog
October 1, 2018. American bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus. I counted, at any given time, an average of 8 frogs sunning on the stones.

Butterflies in August

…and one in October. Note all butterflies were spotted alighting on anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), which I shall hereafter refer to as the super-nectary.

08102018 black swallowtail
August 10, 2018. This is a garden standby. Sorry for the focus – difficult to see the blue spot on the bottom part of the wing. Black swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes.

08122018 painted lady
August 12, 2018. American painted lady, Vanessa virginiensis.

08252018 black swallowtail unknown
August 25, 2018. Giant swallowtail, P. cresphontes. This was the first time I had seen this type in the garden. I thought it was a cross between the black and tiger swallowtails. I’m still not sure, because it appears to lack a horizontal stripe across the forewings. Its larva is known to feed on Japanese honeysuckle, which is rampant on the farm.

10072018 monarch
September 7, 2018. Monarch, Danaus plexippus. I saw two or three of these at any given time in the garden throughout the summer. Note the light blue chicory flower in the midground. This was also a valuable nectary and edible for humans.

 

Swamp Sunflower

10032018 swamp sunflower
October 3, 2018

Some points for consideration:

  • Even though I cut these back in mid-July to promote bushier growth, they still grew tall enough to flop over into the path;
  • The flowers died back in November, but, following the advice of a fellow blogger, I opted to be a messy gardener and leave them for the birds and other garden companions.

Canada Milk Vetch

Astragalus canadensis.This native plant was welcomed the first full year (2017) – it attracted insects, suppressed weeds due to its prostrate growth habit, and produced prolific biomass. The second year, its sprawling growth overtook many companions and it crept into the paths, and its growth was not as dense.

It is a beautiful, functional plant, and its garden niche will continue to evolve.

06082018 astragalus canadensis 1

06082018 astragalus canadensis 2

Previously:

 

Elderberry

The nine plants of Sambucus canadensis exceeded my wildest expectations. After two years, they outgrew their space in the garden this summer. My sense is that they can be as vigorous and prolific as bamboo, but more gentle and forgiving. They, along with the passion vine, turned the garden into a jungle.

07282018-elder-harvest.jpg
These were harvested on July 28, 2018. I lacked the organization to make a syrup for winter enjoyment.

The jungle, before culling begins.

08242018 elder JUNGLE 1
This and the following three photos taken on August 24, 2018. The majority of berries have been harvested at this point, though a few branches were still flowering.

08242018 elder jungle 00

08242018 elder JUNGLE 3

08242018 elder JUNGLE 4

Once the shrubs have been sufficiently topped, they must be dug up and transplanted to a more amenable situation.

09232018 elders WHEELBARROW
Resting in the shade awaiting their new home.

09122018 elder in pit
Being situated in their new location.

09172018 elders TRANSPLANTED
Hopefully they’ll be just as happy at the forest’s edge. The birds certainly will be.