Have you cleaned up your garden?



You may see a mess, but but birds see this.


Seeds! Food, glorious food!


Maybe they haven’t gotten around to picking them out, but they will if you let the flower stalks stand.



One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

It’s fall, and plants are doing what they do…

mystery #163

And idea what this is from?

Post your guesses in the comments and I’ll check back later!


These are the seedpods of a common wildflower that grows throughout North America. After we did some research, we squirrels can guess why you humans might avoid this rather invasive plant–its scientific name, Apocynum, means ‘Away dog’! Indian Hemp or Dogbane, Apocynum cannabinum, is poisonous to dogs and livestock if ingested. We squirrels are staying away from it and suggest you humans  do the same.

indian hemp, dogbane

The leaves are opposite and simple little lobes, the flowers are whitish-green (not the purple flowers in the background!) and attract butterflies in late summer. We thought we might have photos of the tiny blossoms, but we don’t so perhaps you’d like to see them on this Primitive Ways website, which also shows how you can gather the stalks and make cord from them.


One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Here’s a close up of part of a native plant.

Mystery # 142

That’s the only hint I’m giving for this week’s mystery!

See you later!


Does this help any?

Common Milkweed Pod

Or this?

Common Milkweed seeds

Our close up is the seeds of a Common Milkweed, lined up in their pod before the wind and weather have lifted them by the fluff and blown them to a new growing location.

Common Milkweed growing on Reston National Golf Course

Monarch butterflies and other insects are lucky enough to have stands of milkweed on the Reston National Golf Course and many other open space meadows in Reston.

One Of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey There!

Long time no see! We are on our winter break, but because Northern Virginia has seen little snow so far, I want to poke this in for a substitute.

Mystery #110

What is it?

Give me your guesses and I’ll check back later.


I don’t suppose this one is too much of a mystery since we featured Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, several times this summer. See the posts here and here. These are the seeds, now escaping from their pods, dry and fluffing out.

Common Milkweed Seedpod

It’s just such a great native plant!

Common Milkweed

This stand of the wildflowers gone to seed was along a suburban street near us–lots of sun and in a place humans can easily see it. Street flowers.

street flowers

Hope your fall to winter transition is going well!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Today’s mystery is small, red and yummy!

Mystery #79

Give me your guesses!


Oops, a little late with your answer. Busy time of the year for squirrels, you know!

Here’s a hint of where they are found before they hit the ground:

seedpod of the Southern Magnolia

These are red seeds from Southern Magnolia , and we squirrels find them delicious. Not that we’d recommend them for you humans, but some mammals and birds, like turkeys do eat them as the ripen in the fall.

leaves of the Southern Magnolia

They are a little hard to find among those large leaves that are also falling.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there, time to look up some more! Any ideas what these things are at the tips of this tree’s branches?

Mystery # 34

I’ll be back later for guesses and answers.


This is a Tulip Tree or Yellow Poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera, and believe it or not, those are parts of the seed pods that are still hanging on after all these months. Check out the ground beneath.

seeds of the Tulip Tree

Back on July 21, we showed the seedpods forming. By August they had dried and started falling.