Last year when the magnolias started blooming, I was all about finding the perfect white flower. This year I decided to concentrate on the has-beens: those flowers that are past their prime with browning petals. And because I gravitate towards warm, earthy colors, to me, they are just as pretty.
I think one of the features that draws me to the magnolia is their center cone — it’s actually a woody fruit that contains seeds. It has the prettiest burgundy stem. And, after all the brown petals have fallen it stays on the tree for a while.
Here’s a composite of two photos of wild teasel I took on my recent trip to Indiana.
These prickly weeds are also known as Dipsacus which means “thirst for water.” This refers to the fact that a cup-like formation of leaves forms at the bottom of the plant which allows rain water to accumulate. The water keeps sap-sucking insects from getting any farther up the plant that the stem. Interesting huh?
Here in The Villages, we do a lot of our getting around in golf carts. And every time I travel this stretch of golf cart path with overhanging tree branches, I think, “this would make a cool photo.” So the other day I decided to see if I could get the shot. Well, standing at one end and waiting for a break in traffic took a while. But finally I had an opportunity and hurried out to the middle of the path and bent down on one knee to get the low angle I wanted. I was definitely making sure I was paying attention for the sound of a golf carts that might be bearing down on me from behind!
It’s that time of year when palms like to do their thing. And by do their thing I mean propagate. So right now lots of trees in the hood are sprouting interesting pods, cones, berries and seeds, and I thought I’d document the sprouting!
This is a Sago Palm, which apparently isn’t really a palm at all but a cycad, a class of plants that dates back to prehistoric times. These cones that shoot up from the middle of the male plant give off pollen which is then carried to the female plant by insects.
All I have to say about this palm tree, is look at the size of the thorns on that puppy. Apparently there are crafty people who like to collect these pods, paint them and make trays or wall art out of them, but I repeat look at the size of the thorns guarding them. The tassel-like seeds that pop out of the pods are pretty.
I’ve lived in Florida for 14 plus years and I still don’t know one palm from another. I do know that berries such as these eventually fall and make a mess in yards and sidewalks so most people cut them down before they do damage. Some berries are also very poisonous so people with pets have to be careful.