Sunday, November 21, 2021

Travel Story--San Francisco in Nov. 2021

We curtailed our travel--or it was curtailed for us--due to covid. Now we're starting to get out again, finding that travel is changed and so are we. We went in mid-November to San Francisco. My husband and I lived in the Bay Area, both San Francisco and Berkeley, in the 1970s, and have visited many times since. 

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Plant Story--Four o'clocks, Marvel-of-Peru, Mirabilis jalapa

Four o'clocks are flowers I've loved since childhood.

And, since I was a child, what I liked best were the seeds. Big, round with a bulge at one side, such fun to collect! You can see them in the photo below, round black shapes, for example at the base of the flower in the center.

four o'clocks, Mirabilis jalapa
four o'clocks with seeds

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Snarky Septuagenarian--Plant Diversity in Daily Life

I'm over 70. One of the priviledges of age, I'm told, is to be irascible, telling you HOW IT IS! without worrying about your reaction. If I'm going to exert that power, I'd better get to it. So I'll allow my Snarky Septuagenarian to appear, today talking about: Plant Diversity!

You can't just say "oak" when recommending a plant. Which oak?

an oak, Colorado
oak, Colorado

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Plant Story--Purple Prairie Clover, Dalea purpurea

Purple prairie clover is a very pretty native wildflower. It stands about two feet tall (sometime 3'), in a compact clump. The flowers are light purple and it will flower all summer. Most abundant in the central Midwest, its native range included meadows in the eastern U.S. and forest gaps in the mountain West, moist grasslands in the desert Southwest, and warmer sites in southern Canada. Today, it has been planted even more widely, but its native populations in Michigan and Ohio are presumed extinct, and it is endangered in Tennessee.

purple prairie clover Dalea purpurea
purple prairie clover Dalea purpurea

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Why Include References in this Blog?

I've been writing this blog weekly since 2013, describing places or plants, or botanical ideas. Most weeks I include references. Reading other people's blogs as I worked on English ivy, I noted, again, that few of them include references. So why do I? Why go to that extra work? 

What the references do is to show you, the reader, where I got my material. It is an academic thing, of course. But knowledge is built on knowledge. I have first-hand observations, but I get a lot of information from other people. In academia, it is important to give those people credit. Here on the internet, manners are different, but the core reason for including references is to let readers know where the information came from remains critical. 

grapes and grapevine
grapevine, as in "I heard it through the grapevine"

If the first reason for listing references is to give credit where credit is due, the second is to be transparent about where the facts and ideas came from. That's the one I'm going to talk about.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Plant Story--Folklore of English Ivy, Hedera helix

English ivy, also called common ivy or just ivy, (Hedera helix, ginseng family, Araliaceae) is a large woody vine native to central Europe. (See last week's blog about its botany link). It was and is conspicuous, a plant most people know. The plant is big, climbing and clinging, long-lived and evergreen. All of these feature in its rich folklore.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Plant Story--English Ivy, Hedera helix, Aggressive Vine

English ivy (Hedera helix, ginseng family, Araliaceae) is so common as to be invisible. You see it climbing high on buildings or covering a vacant lot, the handsome five-pointed dark green leaves, making a thick verdant mat. To me, English ivy high up on brick walls represents old established places, rich in history. 

In fact, English ivy has so much history I divided writing about it into two blog posts. This one is about the plant's biology, next week, the folklore.

leaves of English ivy, Hedera helix
leaves of English ivy, Hedera helix