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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Tuesday, 8:00 AM. 52 degrees, wind WSW, light. The channel is wrinkled, the sky is overcast and it is raining lightly and looks as though it may do so all day, although the barometer predicts sunny skies.
Saint John’s wort, Hypericum kalmianum, is a common native summer flowering plant of fields and roadsides. There are over 300 species in the confusing genus, so without spending a lot of time I will call this one the species kalmianum, which grows around the great lakes. It is named for the 17th Century Swedish botanist Peter Kalm, who discovered it. His journal is fascinating, and gives real insight into pre-Revolutionary America. St. John’s wort has long been used in herbal medicine, and is much prescribed as a calmative in Europe. I have no personal experience with it.
The pink flowered plant is Crown Vetch, a legume much used in roadside construction plantings. It is extremely invasive, gets into everything, and should not be used.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Monday, 7:45 AM. 59 degrees, wind WNW, brisk. The channel is crawling and dark, the skies partly cloudy. The barometer predicts rain, of which we got a welcome .1” of yesterday in some random showers.
The roadside wildflowers pictured are on Hwy. 13, between Bayfield and Red Cliff. Added to the usual mix of lupines and other flowers are native orange wood lilies, Lilium philadelphicum, which grow freely around Hwy. J as well, adapted to the sun drenched, sandy soil. “Consider the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they spin; yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these.”

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Sunday, 9:00 AM. 64 degrees, wind SW, strong. The sky is mostly overcast and the barometer predicts rain. The rain gauge shows .2” of rain from yesterday’s showers.
The plant with the tubular yellow flowers is bush honeysuckle, Diervilla lonicera, a native under story shrub of our northern woods. I found it up the hill on Old Military Road.
The beach walk this morning was pleasant, the bay sheltered in the lee of the wind. The white flowered plant is northern dewberry, Rubus flagellaris, a native bramble in the rose family. It does a good job of helping to stabilize the dunes, and when the berries are ripe I will try to beat the birds to a few.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Saturday, 9:00 AM. 65 degrees, wind WNW, light. The channel is calm, dimpled by the gentle rain that is falling from an overcast sky. The barometer predicts rain, so it may be a rainy weekend, after several days of barometric predictions of the same.
Hwy. J, the orchard route, is fantastic with roadside wildflowers. There are acres of yellow Coreopsis in bloom on the north end of J, just past The Bayfield Apple Co. An anomaly that blooms every year there is a self-seeding variety of Verbena peruviana, a flower farm escapee from years ago. Purists will decry this foreign intrusion but the effect is startlingly beautiful. There are other flowers in the mix, including the purple American vetch.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Thursday, 8:00 AM. 65 degrees, wind W, calm. The sky is cloudless, the channel glassy. The barometer again predicts rain but it looks unlikely today.
I have keyed out the tall white flowered plant growing among the lupines on the corner of Hwy. 13 and Bodin Rd. as a sweet cicely, Osmoriza divaricata, in the parsley family. Fasset’s Spring Flora of Wisconsin states that this species grows only in Bayfield County near Lake Superior, so if my identification is correct I have found a rather rare local plant. It is very attractive and has a nice fragrance.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Thursday, 8:30 AM. 75 degrees, wind W, light to moderate. The sky is cloudless with some haze in the east. The barometer predicts rain, but it doesn’t look like it. This will be a fine summer day.
The country roadsides and fields are awash with colorful wildflowers, some native others not. The common white daisy, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum, escaped from gardens centuries ago and is now ubiquitous. This is the daisy children pluck the petals (technically ray flowers) from while chanting, "she loves me, she loves me not."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Thursday, 6:00 AM, temperature 69 degrees, wind W, light. The channel is calm, the sky mostly cloudless and there is some haze over the Island. It will be a warm summer day.
The black locusts, Robinia pseudoacacia, are blooming along Eleventh and Manypenny, their presence heralded by the sweetest of perfumes. I like the old black locusts but many consider them an invasive weed tree, even though they are a North American native. They were spread all over the continent in settlement times because of the usefulness of the rot-resistant wood for fence posts, in the days before steel posts. There are few trees more attractive to bees. They have some problems but I would miss them if there were none around.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Tuesday, 7:30 AM. 56 degrees, wind W, dead calm. The channel is obscured by fog, and the sky is overcast with foggy clouds. It is a quiet and peaceful morning.
Garden rooms are an ancient landscape concept, still viable today. They are spatially separate areas of the landscape (landscape and garden are often synonymous terms) devoted to different aesthetic concepts or different activities. Properly executed, even the smallest property can be made much more interesting, functional and beautiful when divided into “rooms.” One does have to respect and enhance vistas and borrowed views. I offer examples from Garden View, even though they may not be the most exemplary.
  • The very secluded front garden, with small deck, stone patio and swing.
  • The very informal perennial garden, with borrowed views.
  • The porch, with lots of plants and furniture and lake view.
  • The work area on the side deck, with potting bench and grill.
  • The picnic area with fire pit, bench, table and old apple tree.
  • The quite formal, small “herb garden.”
  • The lower level patio, with tea table, swing, and garden and lake views.
A small lawn ties several of the “rooms” together.

Outdoor rooms can be improved and embellished over time and offer great satisfaction and usefulness. Garden rooms can be delineated by trees, shrubs, and hedges and by walls, fences and other architectural features. They do not have to be completely secluded, but can flow into each other if appropriate. This concept has been handed down from Roman gardens, to Italian and French and English manor gardens, and of course Islamic gardens. Even cottage gardens make use of garden rooms, as do tiny Dutch gardens and many modern American gardens. Give the concept a try in your own garden and landscape, whether small or grand.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Monday,8:00 AM. 67 degrees, wind W calm. The channel is glassy. .1” of rain fell last night. The sky is partly cloudy with high, thin white clouds. It is a very quiet morning.
The patch of white cow parsnips on Eighth street has burst into bloom, rather pretty but it is best to leave all things in the Umbelliferae, the parsnip family, alone as many are poisonous and at least one causes acute dermatitis when handled.
The wild rose growing in the ditch on Mannypenny Ave. is the native Rosa blanda, very pretty and with a nice scent.
The roadsides are clothed in wildflowers. These growing on Hwy. 13 between Bayfield and Red Cliff, with orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum, introduced from Europe with settlement) fronting lupines could be the subject for a Renoir painting.
On Saturday I had a very pleasant surprise. Susan and Kevon from St. Paul stopped by to introduce themselves as avid readers of The Bayfield Almanac. I showed them around Garden View, and hope they were not disappointed, as it is probably not as special as I make it out to be, and certainly not very grand at all.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Sunday, 10:00 AM. 75 degrees, wind W, very light. The channel is smooth, the sky mostly clear with some high, thin white clouds. Today is a “perfect ten.”
The beach was fantastic this morning early, deserted except for a few dogs out walking their owners, and a lone kayaker emerging from the Sioux river. I talked with him for a moment, he was in a neat little Kayak that looked extremely stable, a Walden Scout, he says he often fishes from it. The plants pictured are all natives of the beach and similar environs. The tiny white flower is a Ranunculus species, a white buttercup, which I could not key out exactly without putting in a whole day doing it. The blue is the native Iris versicolor, and the other is another meadow rue, I think either Thalictrum confine or T. venulosum. A large lake freighter is just now going south in the channel, towards Ashland.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Saturday, 8:00 AM. 69 degrees, wind W, brisk. The sky s blue but hazy, the barometer predicts sunny skies. The channel is wrinkled and sailboats are scudding about under full sail. I suspect there may be a small craft warning this afternoon.
Andy, Judy (they are going back to Cedarburg for three weeks) and Myron came to dinner last evening, and we ate out on the porch for the first time this season. It is finally summer, right on schedule. It has been a wonderful spring.
The gardens look as nice as can be, everything blooming at once. I am quite pleased with the overall effect, and things have grown up to provide a great deal of privacy on a small city property. The landscape has “good bones.” Professional plans are a great tool, but the very best landscapes and gardens are those that have been carefully thought out, planted and tended over the years by an owner with a decent sense of esthetics. As we used to say at The New York Botanical Gardens, “the eye of the master is evident,” as it indeed it is in nature itself.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Friday, 8:00 AM. 66 degrees, wind W, calm. Fog obscures the channel but the sun is trying to burn through. The western sky is mostly clear. The barometer predicts rain, which we got .25” of last night. It is a quiet, fresh morning, with a hint of ozone in the air.
The puffy azure blue flower is meadow rue, Thalictrum dioica, a less-common wild plant of meadows and woods. It is an exceptionally pretty thing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Thursday, 8:00 AM. 66 degrees, wind W, calm. The channel is calm. The sky is quite hazy and the barometer predicts rain.
Andy and Judy had a camp cookout last evening, a fish boil (whole whitefish, heads and all, potatoes, whole onions, all boiled, served with lots of melted butter). There were eight adults and three small children plus the two dogs. The usual suspects were there, plus neighbors whose daughter and kids are visiting from Alaska. She married a young Saudi man who had also attended the U of A, so the children are Saudi-American. He had to stay at home working. It is an unbelievably cosmopolitan world we live in, and events and cultures around the world touch our lives now, no mater where we live in America. We all had a fine time, and the children were a delight.
The ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ English hawthorn in Triangle Park is blooming beautifully, and the red buckeyes we planted last spring on Sixth Street are as well. How much poorer our lives would be if we only accepted the familiar, and did not welcome the exotic.