Hey, we’re going to try something a little different for this Sunday’s mystery. Nutmeg and I found the worst, most awful patch of poison ivy mixed with Virginia Creeper this week. The vines were so thick and intertwined, we edged to the other side of the path and crept our way past. No way were we going up in those trees!
Summer seems to mean vine days in the suburbs. This is a great challenge for you human readers to sort and identify the vines—creeper or ivy. So here is a series of photos for you to try your hand at identifying which vine is in which from the safety of your home—no chance of getting the itches!
Later we’ll post the answers. If you’re having a bit of trouble, check out our most popular previous posts on Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy.
This pair of parent birds have kept busy bringing moths and other juicy insects to their noisy babies.
I nearly fell off a limb laughing when Hickory decided to cross ‘their yard.’ That little moma chased him up over the utility fence and had him pinned to the house wall before he dove off into a bush and hid.
We sure hope they fledge soon so the neighborhood can go back to normal.
Hey there! Two weeks ago saw you human readers spouting off the mystery wildflower name before midmorning. Since I hardly put a challenge to you, here’s a more nondescript one to chew over this week.
Check back with you later!
Perhaps you took your clues from the leaves of this shrub. That’s right, shrub—this is the Common Elderberry, Sambucus nigra L. ssp. canadensis.
Miz Flora tells me this plant was highly prized for its edible berries by Native Americans. They collected the berries and ate little else when they were in season. They were dried for winter, which is a skill I wish we squirrels would learn I get really tired of having only acorns over the winter.
Now I’m not suggesting you humans go out and gather these Elderberries to eat based on our little description here. Please, learn to identify any plant you plant to consume, based on several sources. It doesn’t have drawings or detailed pictures for identification, but one source we like for background information is the US Department of Agriculture plant guides. Here’s the Elderberry page.
We end up running all over our neighborhood, even between the houses where most humans don’t see the hidden garden corners. This human has made the best of a shady canyon between townhouses.
Not even Ol’ Wally remembers, but this spot must have been wet; now a gravel surface lets the water flow by.
Nice ferns, huh? The shrubs are native Oak Leaf Hydrangeas, Hydrangea quercifolia. The stone wall contains the plants, and keeps them out of traffic—not to mention, we’ve seen a skink or two living in those crevices.