PTOP: Rosey Glow

Whatever you do, do it with all your heart. That seems to be Camp Hardtner’s motto! The more time I spend there, the more I see how over-the-top wonderful that 160 acres in Central Louisiana is. Earlier this year, I made trips down to see the mother lode of jack-in-the-pulpit flowers and the mother lode of rose pogonia orchids. This week it was the mother lode of pinewoods rosepinks, also known as rose gentian (Sabatia gentianoides). What I love most about these wildflowers is the precision of the petals. They look to me like they are carved by laser from…

PTOP: Lavender Hope

A quarter would cover each of these sets of leaflets of three. The flower that rises on a leafless stalk nearby is even smaller: Cover it with a dime! And the dark background of these two images? That’s scorched earth. It’s called “prescribed burning” of forest lands–a replacement of the natural forest fires that once cleared away the thick grasses, vines and shrubs that choke out tiny flowering plants like these. In this morning of mourning on the heels of a heartbreaking week of choked out life and scorched earth, it is all I can do to cling to a…

PTOP: Wild Grass

We do such disservice to grass by mowing it! A few days ago, I was looking through a folder of photo files from a walk-about at Camp Hardtner in early February. Don’t remember what I was looking for. As happens with some regularity, I found images I had completely forgotten about. That walk-about was primarily to identifying plant species for my ongoing Camp Hardtner Assessment Project. (More on that another time.) But I was distracted by a tall clump of wild grass. Wild grass that is allowed to grow presents a different beauty for every season. Come February, it has…

PTOP: Confused with Flowers

It has not been a peaceful day. We have made such a mess of things. But no one thought to tell the rose pogonias at Camp Hardtner, so they bloomed anyway. Robert Frost (1874-1963) wrote a poem about rose pogonias.* I’m so glad it’s in the public domain. I must share the whole thing with you. Rose Pogonias A saturated meadow, Sun-shaped and jewel-small, A circle scarcely wider Than the trees around were tall; Where winds were quite excluded, And the air was stifling sweet With the breath of many flowers,— A temple of the heat. These were bowed us…

PTOP: Splish, splash…

Look closely. There’s a blue jay in the middle of that flying water! And he hogged the bath for a full 15 minutes. The mockingbord (below) had already had her turn. A red-headed woodpecker landed above the bath on the edge of the deck shade roof, but the jay just kept splashing mightily. The woodpecker gave up and left. I am learning from the birds! They are finally getting me properly trained. If I faithfully clean and refill the “birdbath” every other day or so, they reward me with exuberant displays. You just can’t watch them without grinning at the…