‘Arboretum Scenery’ Category

Fall yardwork stirs up hornet’s nest

This large papery nest was found this fall, and was constructed by a colony of hornets     Most people don’t take kindly to finding wasp nests around their yard, but I find that they make for a convenient excuse for going in the house, pouring a nice glass of iced tea, and watching the […]

Accipiters shake things up at winter gatherings

A sharp-shinned hawk waits patiently by the Arboretum birdfeeders recently   Oh, the stress of being a good holiday host. It’s so hard for a host to relax when there are so many things to worry about:  Will my guests find the place alright? Will they like the food I am serving? Will they be […]

April Showers Bring May Flowers

After this long rainy April week, May is finally here! With the month of May comes warmer temperatures, spring flowers, and increased bird activity. Average day time temperatures for Minnesota are in the 60s, while night time temperatures are in the mid-40s. We begin to see many spring flowers in the woodlands, such as bloodroot, […]

Chorus frog courtship is noisy ‘affair’

This tiny western chorus frog (note knuckle for size reference) is just one of many that are set to put on their annual spring concert. The temperature’s rising, the days are getting longer, the buds are swelling, and the critters are emerging from hibernation.  Spring is nearly here, and with it comes the annual performance […]

The Winter Life of Black-Capped Chickadees

After the summer bird species have migrated south for the winter, the black-capped chickadee (Parus atricapillus) remains present around the arboretum and a year-round favorite to many birders. Their energetic and curious behaviors make them one of my favorite species to observe. I can almost always rely on them to be active during any part […]

Hummingbird Moths, Interpreting the Fall Arboretum Landscape

The following is a submission from a Gustavus student in Dr. Cindy Johnson’s “Interpreting the Fall Landscape” class held in the Arboretum.  Special thanks to Dr. Johnson and her students…..   Hummingbird Moths by Jessica Gold I spotted 4 hummingbird moths in a flower bed on 9/24 at 6:15 pm. They were hovering around the […]

Cup Plant — Interpreting the Fall Arboretum Landscape

The following is a submission from a Gustavus student in Dr. Cindy Johnson’s “Interpreting the Fall Landscape” class held in the Arboretum.  Special thanks to Dr. Johnson and her students…..   Cup Plants By Carrie Boike   Cup Plant, Silphium perfoliatum ·         Native to North America ·         Perennial ·         Triangular Toothed Leaf ·          opposite leaf […]

The power of unintended consequences

Last spring, we decided to add a bird feeder to a small garden area outside of the Interpretive Center.  Two or three months ago, a bird at that feeder (through haste or carelessness) dropped a sunflower seed and it started to grow.   When I suggested that we pull it as a weed (after all, it […]

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, […]

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 […]