November 28, 2017

A Few Fleshy Fruits of Autumn

Viburnum 2

Garden blooms are gone and foliage is fading in my neighborhood, but a few fruits remain here and there. Some will last through the winter, while others offer happy feasts for birds and critters as winter's cold, icy claw will soon grip the landscape.

As I glance around the garden, the berries, drupes, pomes and other fruits catch my eye amidst the brown and gray of "once lush" trees, shrubs, and forbs. I'll refer you to a list of types of fruits for proper identification.

Can you identify what types of fruits (berries, drupes, pomes, hesperidia, other) are shown here?:


Cranberrybush Viburnum (V. trilobum)


Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)


Pachysandra (P. terminalis)


Yew (Taxis canadensis)


Crabapples (unknown Malus cultivar)


Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Those are a few of the outdoor fruits; here are two I overwinter in the sunroom:


Developing Fuchsia fruit (F. 'Marinka')


Meyer Lemon (Citrus x meyeri)

Can you correctly classify these fruits? What fruits are growing and ripening in your garden?

[Disclaimer: Not all of the fruits shown here are edible to humans! Research before you consume the parts of any unfamiliar plant!]

November 22, 2017

November's Gratitude

Thanksgiving 2017

'Give thanks
for each new morning
with its light,
for rest and shelter
of the night,
for health and food,
for love and friends,
for everything
thy goodness sends.'

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

November 14, 2017

I Am a Trailtessa

oak savanna

Occasionally, I stray from the plant-specific tagline of this blog to share an experience that ties closely with that theme. Earlier this autumn, on a late-September day that felt more like high summer, a friend and I participated in a hiking event with Wisconsin women of all ages--from young children to seniors.

As defined by the Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA), we were/are all "Trailtessas."



A Trailtessa is: "a woman or a girl who gets out on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail to experience adventure, freedom, and a new way to be." The IATA has put together a creative, impressive collection of opportunities for Trailtessas in the months ahead.

For those unfamiliar with the Ice Age Trail, it's a thousand-mile footpath winding through some of Wisconsin's most beautiful natural areas. The trail follows the outline of unique landscape features left behind as the last major glacier retreated from this area, more than 12,000 years ago. The trail is entirely within Wisconsin, and is one of 11 U.S. National Scenic Trails. I've been an IATA member for several years now: It's a worthy cause and a national treasure!


At the September event, the IATA offered information, resources, and even a few "freebies" as part of our minimal registration fee. We had to "work" for our reward, though. The event offered three trail options--from a short loop to a 2.9-mile hike. Most of us chose the latter. It was a hot day with temperatures in the 90s, and the trail looped up and down some moderate hills. But we persevered.


The reward: a lovely farm-to-table meal prepared by an excellent, local sous chef and her team. The outdoor venue was lovely, complete with 360-degree views of restored prairie and Oak savanna landscapes.


Our sponsors were generous!


Our chef was Jamie Hoang, of Sujeo restaurant in Madison. Yum, the food was excellent!

It was such a positive experience--to hike, dine, converse, and experience with other Trailtessas such a beautiful segment of the Ice Age Trail. And as the event wound down, we witnessed the colorful glow of a stunning sunset on the landscapes all around us.

view 1

view 4

view 2

view 3

I look forward to participating in more Trailtessa events in the months ahead.

November 06, 2017

The Last Vases of the Season

Vase Collage

The growing season is done here in Southern Wisconsin. This will be the last "vase" post of 2017 with flowers from my own garden. Not bad, I must admit, for November in this climate.

I'm actually surprised I found any blooms after several frosts and freezes. But I grabbed some colored bud vases, and filled them with single stems of Sedum (S. spectabile 'Autumn Joy'), Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), Marigold (Tagetes erecta), and Fuchsia 'Marinka.'


Certainly not perfection, but a simple ode to the last flowers of the growing season.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting "In a Vase on Monday." Head on over to her blog, Rambling in the Garden, for more vase ideas.