A Better Sense of Place

2018 September 15 (Sat)


I know I haven't been keeping up with posting about the progress of my home native ecology restoration project, and as time goes on, it gets harder and harder to figure out where to pick it back up. I scanned through the pictures I took in 2017 and 2018 to see what stands out. I've got a lot of great flower pictures and interesting progression series, but to do something quickly, I think I'll share some surprises instead.

Back on December 8, it snowed. It snowed again on January 17, but December was better because it wasn't as icy. The snow flakes were fat and wet. It used to be very rare to get any sort of snow, and even though it's happening a bit more frequently, I still get pretty excited to go out and take some pictures. Snow on native plants is just so pretty.
I saw this green frog on the outside of the living room window in April. From the things I've read, amphibians are a great indicator of environmental health.
In June, I noticed a mockingbird was always hanging around the front yard, swooping down on the cats the neighbors annoyingly let roam the street. This is classic parent behavior, so I knew there was a nest somewhere. I finally found it in the redcedar, about 4 feet off the ground. This was pretty low, but I want to believe the birds lived even though they were suddenly gone one day.
In July, I was pruning a coralbean when I spotted a mantis hanging out and being very still. I don't think I've ever seen one in my yard, so this was pretty awesome to find.
During the summer, I noticed some weird white flowers on a pretty tall and spindly plant in the front yard. I eventually posted a picture online to ask fellow native plant nerds what it is. The answer came back as longflower beeblossom (Oenothera filiformis). I have no idea how it got there.
Last month, I noticed that my wax myrtle had a lot of little green balls all over. I figured they were the beginnings of fruit, which means I have me a female! I never even noticed the flowers.
I generally have a really hard time getting pictures of butterflies. I noticed one on my scarlet catchfly (Silene subciliata) a month ago. I just couldn't get my phone to focus on it. This is a plant that's listed as being exceptionally rare and only in west Louisiana and east Texas, so it's been pretty great to see it come back the past two years.
Also in August, I began noticing some weird mutant-looking purple coneflowers. It turns out that it's what's called aster yellows, which is caused by phytoplasma. I don't really know what that even is, but I read that a type of leafhopper is what infects plants with it. Just in the past week, I've found another coneflower infected with it. At this time, I'm okay with just waiting and seeing how this plays out.


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