Here Comes the Sun!

Well, maybe it’s not the sun, but those ray petals look like it to us squirrels after days of rain. Mis Flora says a carpet of Green and Gold is a good post for squirrels and humans alike today.

Back in April we couldn’t find this wildflower blooming, so here it is for you today. And if you had any doubt that Green and Gold would spread in your garden’s shady areas, take a look at this carpet!

Read more about it on our April 8th ‘G’ post.

Y is for Yarrow

Five years ago on The Squirrel Nutwork, we featured Common Yarrow for Y day. Back then we were just building our photo files and it was spring and the local yarrow hadn’t bloomed. So our post–in which all four of us squirrels weighed in, see it here!–was of the feathery leaves, which are certainly beautiful, but we thought you’d like to see the flowers!

The native yarrow is white.

Usually, Miz Flora tells me. Apparently, she says, this plant was known across Europe and given its Latin name Achillea millefolium, by Linneaus. ‘Millefolium’ means ‘thousand leaves’ which it certainly does have. When explorers crossed North America, they found a yarrow they assumed was related. Because the leaves were fuzzier, another botanist, Thomas Nuttall, named it Achillea lanulosa, which is Latin for ‘wooly.’ Today, botanists group the yarrows together as one genus…although humans sometimes find pale pink flowers among the western, fuzzy-leaved yarrows.

Of course you humans have taken the plant and done all kinds of things to it to make it ‘prettier,’ so don’t be surprised if you go to a garden center and find yarrows blooming in colors from pink to red to purple and yellow to deep gold.

Flowers can be many things to many people!

T is for Turtlehead

Just take a look at these funny flowers!

Turtleheads are a fun plant that love moist soil. The little tricksters are designed so a bee gets completely brushed with pollen getting into the nectar at the bottom.

To see the bee completely inching in, hop back to our post entitled Getting Into Pink Turtleheads!

Just a side note that not all turtleheads are pink. The native ones are white, but we haven’t seen those in our suburban neighborhood. A human planted these showy pink ones.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Have you seen this growing about?

Let us know in the comments, and I’ll return later with your answer!

~~~

As one of our regular readers said, the important thing to know about this plant is you can never get rid of it! So true.

Creeping Charlie, or what Miz Flora’s wildflower guide calls Gill-Over-The Ground, Glechoma hederacea, is a member of the Mint Family. (Bet you can see the square stem!) Rather than standing upright, it creeps, putting down new roots where the nodes touch moist ground.

The blue or violet flowers bloom in spring and early summer, and because it’s a common plant, they feed bees while the other plants are getting going. The blossoms are quite small–meaning we had a really touch time getting a close photo.

But we are sure you can find one in your lawn to check them out!

Q is for Queen Anne’s Lace

By branching out of our season, we squirrels have a few more choices of plants to use for those difficult letters!

Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota, is a summer-bloomer, a wildflower brought over from Europe. It supposedly is named for Queen Anne of England who was also a lacemaker. In North America, it can go quite wild and take over a field, but you humans probably see it most often lining rural roads.

The ‘jewel’ in the crown of flowers is simply another flower, but along with the naming story from Queen Anne, people say it’s a drop of blood she shed when she pricked herself!

G is for Green and Gold

Lol, that’s one plant with two G names!

Unfortunately, neither of the Green and Gold plants in our neighborhood are blooming quite yet. And once we poked our noses closer, we discovered they are two different species, though Miz Flora assures us they are both Chrysogonum virginianum, and the non-fuzzy one is a subspecies. Hickory isn’t so sure, and that’s getting too detailed for me.

At any rate, this second one is fuzzier.

Green and Gold–sometimes called Golden Star–is a shade-loving ground cover that spreads, though not as fast as some of your human ornamentals. It’s a native aster with five petals that blooms fairly early, so that’s a help to the bees. And that it likes shady, moist soil is a help to lots of gardeners.

C is for Chicory

Usually we feature plants and animals that we’re seeing right now in nature, but after six years of participating in the Blogging A to Z Challenge, we decided to branch out from only spring plants.

Common Chicory is an often over-looked roadside wildflower in the aster family that blooms the summer. It was brought to North America from Europe and was planted for livestock. It has many uses, perhaps the most popular for you humans was baking the roots for coffee.

The flowers can be blue, and sometimes white or pink, and usually open only in the morning.