Where art and science meet: ‘Darwin and the Art of Botany’

Charles Darwin was many things, but in the classic sense of the word, he was not an artist. Lacking in the ways of visual art, and with miserably bad handwriting, the scientist eventually enlisted the help of his sons in creating utilitarian illustrations of the plants and animals with which he worked.  

Notes from a plant nerd: St. John’s wort

Among the many plants that signify the start of summer, perhaps none is more showy than St. John’s wort (Hypericum spp.)

Notes from a plant nerd: World, lose strife

For the past few years, whenever I encounter the whorled loosestrife growing along a trail or roadside I have been saying its name out loud, and slowly. Like a prayer: “World, lose strife.”

Planning for plants: Botanical survey complete for Pinnacle Park

Sylva has received the results of an in-depth botanical survey of Pinnacle Park revealing that the property is a bonanza of biodiversity. Now, the town is partnering with Jackson County and the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority to fund a master plan implementing survey recommendations.    

It’s in our blood

Each spring I am struck by the beauty and encouraged by the support given by bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) as it emerges and begins its process of opening the flower and unfurling the leaf. The flower bud and leaf come up together, poking through the duff of last year’s tree leaves blanketing the forest floor. Before opening, the flower looks like an egg on the end of a long skinny stalk. This top-heavy flower might just flop over, were it not for the leaf wrapped around the stem, like a helping hand holding the flower for us to see.

Notes from a Plant Nerd: Red Maple Winter

There’s a change in the air every year around this time. A subtle shift in energy. Days start getting longer, and sunset occurs later each day. Birdsong sings louder in the morning, and the sounds of wood frogs echo through the valleys.

Notes from a plant nerd: Winter moss gathers no stones

Among my favorite types of plants that grow year-round, and tend to especially shine in the wintertime, are mosses.

Notes from a plant nerd: Winter Green

While there are many plants that stay green throughout the winter, there is only one plant known as wintergreen.

Notes from a Plant Nerd: The winter forest

I love walking in the woods in the wintertime. Sure, there aren’t any wildflowers blooming, but there are no mosquitos to swat away, no flies or ants to bug your lunch, and no snakes to startle your path either. The long-range views visible through leafless trees give a fresh perspective to familiar trails as all the ridges and hollows are outlined starkly on the hillsides, showing evidence of water and its effect through millions of years of erosion.

Notes from a Plant Nerd: Nothing New Under the Winter Sun

Every year on the last night of December, in the dead of winter, the cries go out of “Happy New Year!” We toast our old acquaintance, kiss our sweethearts, celebrate the highs and drown the lows of the previous twelve months in a night of revelry.

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