Archive for 2013

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Fall color forecast looks good… maybe.

A long autumn with sunny dry days and cool dry nights can make for a colorful fall. Autumn in Minnesota is a time of cruel ironies. Any Vikings fan can tell you that. One of autumn’s cruelest ironies is that the beauty of autumn is quickly replaced with the general crumminess of winter. And so, […]

Monarchs Still Holding On!

Earlier this week, I noticed three Monarch Butterflies fluttering outside our windows at the Interpretive Center. They seemed to be having a ball, enjoying the colorful flower gardens. Monarchs, as most of us may know begin as caterpillars. As caterpillars, they must eat constantly in order to grow big enough, fast enough to turn themselves […]

Ragweed and the Afterlife

  Although I have no plans to end up there, I can’t help but imagine what sorts of things might be found in hell.  I am, of course, familiar with the traditional images of fire, ragged clothing, and stalagmites, but I believe that the more mundane forms of punishment would actually be the worst.  I […]

Coneflower Prairie Walk

About 45 people turned out for an absolutely perfect evening to walk the Coneflower Prairie at Linnaeus Arboretum on July 23rd.  Thanks for coming out everyone.  I hope to upload several prairie plant photos soon.

Butterfly populations at historic lows

Monarch Butterfly on goldenrod flower If you’ve seen a Monarch butterfly recently, (or any butterfly, for that matter) consider yourself lucky.  As gardeners, wildlife-watchers and insect-lovers can all attest, there has been a considerable shortage of the graceful creatures in our area so far this summer.  The common yellow sulfurs aren’t so common, and the […]

The Leaning Tower of Perry

After a long hiatus, we’re finally seeing some rapid change in Perry the Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum). Almost exactly two years after beginning to grow, and reaching maturity about four months later, the titanic leaf is rapidly senescing. We’ve been watching what has appeared to be the onset of dormancy for many months, but just […]

Don’t get burned by wild parsnip

Although it appears harmless this wild parsnip, combined with sunlight, can cause tremendous skin damage to its unsuspecting victims. Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) grows wild – often in road ditches and abandoned areas – and is a member of the carrot family, closely related to the cultivated parsnips you might grow in your garden. It […]

Giant Water Bug Takes a Stroll on Campus

This past Wednesday some observant students found this Giant Water Bug taking a stroll on one of the campus’ sidewalk. These interesting big bugs find themselves in freshwater streams and ponds for most of their lives. Giant water bugs use a pointy protrusion at their rear end to act as a snorkel, allowing them to […]

Pasqueflowers in bloom (finally)

Pasqueflowers in bloom Prairie wildflower season has officially begun.  Pasqueflower (Anemone patens) is the earliest blooming flower on the prairie.  These were just photographed at Kasota Prairie today, and the pasqueflowers near the rock outcrop prairie overlook site in the Arboretum will soon be following suit.  The name means “Easter flower” and these plants usually […]

Junco Madness

This strange heaping of snow has stalled spring and left the dark-eyed Juncos in a frenzy searching for food at the Arboretum bird-feeders. It looks like a bustling bird food court out there! Juncos are a common type of sparrow who are often seen flitting about beneath the edges of trees. They have a light […]