Thursday, December 28, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
The RBG (Royal Botanical Gardens) has 33 large file cabinets with about 80 000 plant files so one has to take some care in placing the False Mermaid in the correct place so it can be found again.
The files are colour coded. There is a colour for RBG property plants, for Hamilton/Burlington plants not on RBG property, for Ontario plants not in Hamilton/Burlington, for wild plants in other parts of the world, for garden plants planted at the RBG, and for garden plants planted in other gardens around the world.
Of the 80 000 specimens that are at the RBG Herbarium, some are more than 200 years old and some were put on the shelves yesterday. Some are special plants that were first found and identified at the herbarium. Some are duplicates that are destined to move to other herbariums. Most stay in their files for study by students and others concerned with plant identification, changes in plants, and changes in plant populations in various environments
It has been my privilege, since retiring as an elementary school teacher, to volunteer one half day a week for the last several years in this herbarium where I have learned much more than I ever knew about plants and been of some help to the herbarium and RBG in the process.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Just a few metres on down the trail, I found this Wild Cucumber pod hanging from a tree.
Then, looking out over the field, I saw the sun catching the seeds of old Aster plants. A telephoto with wide f-stop shot made the surroundings blurry but beautiful.
Blogger pushed me into using its Beta version. We'll see if that was a mistake in a few minutes.
Friday, December 08, 2006
The Common Tansy was still hanging on.
But I was having difficulty by the time I got to this rose. My fingers and thumbs were going numb with cold and the wind was blowing so this rosebud does not look very sharp but I wanted to show it anyway as this rose still want to bloom if it gets some sun and warmer weather.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
The sun caught some colour on the Fir trees just outside our library room window.
From the barn, the frost on the window makes neat patterns.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Above is a photo of one of 42 wild flowers that I found last week still in bloom. It is the Heath Aster (Aster ericoides). It is still blooming in our east meadow.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
As I walked a bit further along the trail some rustling in the leaves at the side of the trail caught my attention and . . .
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I thought there might be one or two people interested in what the Hamilton Naturalists' Club members and I found on a November wild flower walk that I led last Saturday, November 4. (Actually, I added a few others that I found on November 1,2, & 3 in other Hamilton locations.) Altogether we found 71 species in bloom. The names are below with an * beside the names of plants that are NOT native to our area but have naturalized nevertheless.
Alyssum, Hoary *
Aster, Calico (Starved Aster)
Aster, New England
Avens, Wood *
Beggar Tick, Tall
Bittercress, Hairy *
Bugloss, Viper's *
Chickweed, Common *
Cinquefoil, Rough-Fruited *
Cinquefoil, Silvery *
Clover, White Sweet *
Daisy, Oxeye *
Dandelion, Common *
Dead-Nettle, Spotted *
Evening Primrose, Common
Groundsel, Common *
Knapweed, Blackish (Tyrol Knapweed)
Knotgrass, Common *
Knotweed, Japanese *
Mallow, Common (Cheeses) *
Medick, Black *
Pennycress, Field *
Queen Anne's Lace *
Rocket, Dame's *
Saint Johnswort, Common *
Scorpion-Grass, Blue *
Sow Thistle, Common *
Sow Thistle, Field *
Sow Thistle, Spiny-Leaved *
Spurge, Petty *
Vetch, Cow *
Vetch, Crown *
Wood Sorrel, Yellow
If there is any interest in getting Latin names for the flowers, have a look at my wild flower web site.
Monday, November 06, 2006
First, and I think my best, is an ants view of a Milkweed seed that just landed on a Mullein leaf.
Second is an ants view of Solomon Seal leaves and a stem.
And lastly was an ants view looking skyward towards a Mullein and a Queen Anne's Lace.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
On October 31 I had the opportunity to walk in the nearby Dundas Valley for almost an hour. I thought some of you might be interested in what I saw.
My first sighting was a White-tailed Deer. I believe that it was fairly young and had never heard of a hunting season, or knew that it was in a protected conservation area, as it did not immediately run away.
Not only did it not run away, it did not walk very fast either. During the next half hour, I was able to get closer to it than I have been to a grown deer. (I've managed to touch a fawn twice in my life by just being in the right place at the right time, but I did not have a camera with me either time.)
Just a bit further along the trail I found this beautiful tree shaded pond in the valley.
And not far from the pond, this Herb Robert was still blooming and putting on seeds.
All together during the last seven days of October, I found 62 wild flower species in bloom. See the full list and a couple more photos at my wild flower web site.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
While I was photographing it, I saw three more, much smaller larvae in the wood and brought them to the surface with a splinter. Initially they were curled up in what I assume were defensive positions. After a few minutes they started to uncurl.
After they uncurled, they appeared to be about 1 cm (0.4 inches) long.
I also saw two much smaller larvae that I was unsucessful in photographing as they were too small to make much of an impression in the camera.
So my question is, what do you think they are. After some thought, I am leaning towards identifying the three small larvae as centipedes due to the way they were moving and I think I can see many, many, very small, almost transparent legs on their bodies but the larger larva has me quite puzzled. Any ideas?
Sunday, October 22, 2006
On my October 20th personal wild flower search, I found 61 species in bloom. On one hand, that is amazing for this late in the year. On the other, since I have been out almost everyday someplace looking for flowers and have been helped by groups that I've led at least once each fall in late October for over 20 years, I do know where to look and have a good idea about what flowers will bloom this late. It also helps that the temperatures are warmer than they used to be.
The trees on our home property have mostly lost their leaves and it looks more like November than October here, but down by Lake Ontario, Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise where the waters keep the land even warmer, the tree colours and wild flower blooms have held on later. Oh, the bird in the photo holding its wings out to dry is a cormorant. They are very common these days on the edge of Lake Ontario.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Meanwhile, out in the nearby fields . . .
Here is a closer look at some horseradish plants.
The first step in harvesting this root crop is to get rid of the tops. The tops are cut, shredded, and blown back onto the field.
Next, this large machine is pulled by another tractor over the rows. The roots are dug up, dirt shaken off, and then two individuals are doing something to the roots as the machine moves the roots to them. Maybe they are sorting? I really don't know.
They are then loaded into a truck or trailer and moved on to some unknown location. I think I need to follow both the soybeans and horseradish roots further along to see what happens next.