Nature Notes

Dry Survival

Bee balm is still in full bloom. I need to stop moving so I can see mounds of lavender petals come alive with bees, flies, and many other insects.

By Mary Beth Pottratz

A brilliant pink dahlia is in full bloom. Its petals seem twisted and curving in an interesting fashion. I wonder whether that’s a result of our drought?  It must have been difficult for the Arboretum’s amazing staff to coax such lovely dahlias to bloom during this severe dry spell!

Dahlia

Butterflies and hummingbirds alike are drawn to the deep blue salvia planted to shade the dahlia’s roots. They are just starting to bloom. Sure enough, a black and yellow eastern swallowtail pauses to check it out! Tamaracks are sporting fresh new little cones, and black walnut fruits are almost full-size.

Monarch

There are no hummers right now, but I find my first confirmed monarch sighting of the year! It’s a male, with slightly tattered wings. He is nectaring on annual flowers. A pair of small white butterflies flit erratically and dance circles around each other in the air.

Purple, pale purple, and grey-headed coneflower are all still flowering. Blazing star and many sunflowers are just starting to bloom. Tall thimbleweed’s petals have dried and fallen away, and the cones are now elongated. Its deeply lobed leaves are starting to turn a rich shade of purply crimson.

Wild quinine

Wild quinine is still in flower, and its tops seem cushy soft. But watch out for the crab spider who camouflages perfectly! A lone cedar waxwing sits high in a pine tree and looks around. Usually, we see these birds together in flocks. I wonder if the stiff wind today makes it difficult for birds to hear each other.

Bee balm

Bee balm is still in full bloom. I need to stop moving so I can see mounds of lavender petals come alive with bees, flies, and many other insects.

I head indoors to the Reedy Gallery to see the exhibit “Between the Edges,” with works from three artists including one of my favorite nature artists, Vera Ming Wong. In this exhibit, Wong creates dioramas and pieces in three dimensions that deepen understanding of the effect each layer has on the others – and on our lives, too.

“Dragonfly Blue”

In “Dragonfly Blue”, we can view layers of artworks past a glass-backed frame to the mirror beyond. Changing our position just a little, we will see new stories, scenes, and interactions. The exhibit runs through Sept. 5, so you have a chance to see it too!

Mary Beth Pottratz is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer. More information about the program is available at Minnesota Master Naturalist.

2 comments on “Dry Survival

  1. Seeing bees busy on blooms is one of the joys of life, don’t you think?

  2. Holly Einess

    I totally agree, Denzil! Can’t get enough of them.

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