One of Nature’s Mysteries To Solve

Hey there!

Nutmeg says maybe this mystery should be ‘why did the humans put a nail in the tree?’ but I didn’t notice that until I was posting. The real question I’m asking for this week’s mystery is, can you recognize a common tree by its bark?

Mystery #123

Hint: it is a tree native to Eastern North America. Give me your name guesses in the comments!


Well, folks, this one is pretty common:

Flowering Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida. Isn’t it amazing a tree that stands out so well with its distinct flowers and interesting upturned twigs is overlooked when it comes to bark?

Have another look at the Dogwood nearest you!

Thirsty Thursday

We’ve had a bit of rain lately…a bit more than normal for June, and a bit more than this old squirrel likes. Especially when the trees start coming down. Somehow I don’t feel like our suburbs can afford that.

So Ol’ Wally here got to watching the rains when they start to fall. I noticed something about different kinds of leaves–just an observation, but one I thought I’d share.

On some leaves the water just spreads, like on these Turtlehead plants…

Purple Turtlehead

…but on some leaves the water sticks to itself.


And sorry, Ol’ Wally cannot remember this plant’s name and Ms. Flora is nowhere to be found. If none of you human readers can come up with it, I’m sure I will eventually.


And per a reader request, here are more views of the mystery plant:





Great Spangled Fritillary

So after that butterfly yesterday, we figured we best show you one of the real thing.

Great Spangled Frit

The Great Spangled Fritillary is a fairly common visitor in our Virginia neighborhoods.

Because one of our readers asked, we realize we forgot to tell you how you can also have butterflies! *tails drooping* Grow the plants the caterpillars like to eat! These are Zinnias, but Fritillaries are also attracted to Common Milkweed, if you’d prefer to host a native plant.

One Of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Here’s a flower we wonder if you recognize!

Mystery #122

Let us have your guesses in the comments!


Hey, this might be a little harder. This part I showed above is probably overlooked by you humans, but Ms. Flora assures me the little starburst structures are the real flowers of this plant. How about a photo hint? 

Bracts on Oak Leaf Hydrangea

Recognize these ‘flower’ sepals, as Ms. Flora calls them? And backing up farther…

Oak Leaf Hydrangea flowers

Look familiar? How about the leaves?

Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia, is a native shrub we’ve shown before because the humans in our neighborhood have planted it. People seem to like it because of the long blooming period. That sets Ms. Flora to laughing. The ‘flowers’, which you now know are the smaller, delicate parts inside the flower head, finish their blooming in short order. You can even see the white dusting of the petals on the leaves below. The stiffer sepals, which are more like a leaf structure, stick around a very long time.

Oak Leaf Hydrangea shrub

If that what it takes to get a native shrub planted, we’ll keep the secret to ourselves. 🙂

Motionless Monday

Hey there!

Ol’ Wally seems to have brought in a few more readers, so I’ll orient you all to our Monday column, hosted by yours truly–Hickory Squirrel. We squirrels have noticed that you humans can’t seem to get enough of wildlife, so install statues where you can enjoy seeing us. It’s fun. We can’t get around to all the neighborhoods, even with field correspondents, so if you have a favorite Motionless Monday you’d like to share, send your photos in! Just give us a little poke in the comments, because, um, we’re not the best at checking our email.

And, whew, that was a mouthful for a Monday. Summer is upon us, so the flamingos are out again!

flamingo wildlife statue

Have great day!