Friday, January 23, 2015



Pictured here are new shoots of Chlorogalum pomeridianum, and just as these new leaves announce the coming spring, it feels right to start sharing my pictures and thoughts in this format.

I endeavor to observe and explore mutualisms in the plant kingdom, though my vantage point is limited. Without a formal education, I may not be able to readily recognize all the complexities of the natural world around me, but it gives me great pleasure to watch and learn. Nature is a great teacher, and can offer lessons that would be abstract or out of context in a classroom. My goal is to share what I discover and hopefully clarify what it is that fascinates me about the subtle life cycles and mutualisms that take place literally beneath our feet. I'm not the most gifted writer so hopefully the pictures will speak for themselves. Enjoy!

Corlyus sp.
Filbert or Hazel, which I mistook for a species of Alder. The two genera have similar looking male catkins, but Alder have small 1" female cones, while species of Corlyus do not.

I planted Crocus in this 4' stump, which was rotted out in the center. The rocks allowed me to mound the compost up high in the "pit", and also help keep it from washing out in the rain or from birds who might want to scratch through it. These corms seem happy, and they might just be out of sight from the deer who would happily eat them to death. Rodents shouldn't be a problem because it is high off the ground. Time will tell.

Emergent leaves of Colchicum cilicicum. These are the first to appear of the few Colchicum's I have so far. They are perfectly toxic, so are avoided by animals, yet flower in the fall when bees are collecting winter reserves and so much else has ceased flowering. My short time with these plants, I have fallen for them.

Tips of what I can only guess as Iris reticulata.

Just as the Chlorogalum are emerging in the wild, the seeds are beginning to germinate. It is fascinating how the seeds of most perennial plant species germinate at the same general time as the adult plants emerge. It is probably more pronounced in regions with clearly delineated "growth seasons" and where plants greatly benefit from dormancy. Our hot dry summers and wet cold period from fall to spring require these adaptations.

Hair covered pioneering new leaves of Cynoglossum grande, tightly bundled, capitalize on the wet season by starting growth early. The white pubescence and tightly wrapped new leaves probably help the new growth endure less than favorable weather, while preparing to be in full leaf by the time the conditions improve, thus having more time to store energy before going dormant at the end of spring into summer.

New growth of seed grown Pulmonaria. These turned out to be a spotless form, unlike those most often sold in the horticultural trade. I find these equally interesting, as they compliment the spotted forms I do possess. Perhaps they will cross with the spotted ones to give me some unique offspring?


  1. Hi Travis, your images are fabulous! And thanks for introducing me to the word "anthecology". I look forward to seeing and reading more on your blog. Best wishes, Lefty in Sydney, Australia

  2. If I l post as Anonymous it works
    Nice pictures

  3. Wow, very nice work, nice idea! How do I sign up to get your latest in my inbox? Love that you are concentrating on the insects AND the plants!

  4. ps to the 1/28 10:24 comment above - my name is Kristina Lefever from Ashland, OR. I saw your email asking for volunteers to observe plants for bee visits - I'll be in touch via email.

  5. Hi Kristina,

    You can now subscribe at the top right of the page. I can't see it in the browser on my phone, but it shows up on my desktop.

    And to everyone, thank you! We will learn together!


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