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Tuesday, June 30, 2015



Tuesday,  8:00 AM.  55 degrees F at the ferry dock, 62 on the back porch.  Wind ENE, light to moderate, sometimes gusty.  The sky is overcast and the humidity is 89%.  The barometer stands at 29.95" and is more or less steady.  The wind off the lake renders the downtown waterfront much cooler than up on the bluff.  It will be a damp, cool day.
   The red-berried elderberry in the back yard, Sambucus pubens,  in the Honeysuckle (Caprifoliaceae) Family is bearing fruit.  This  species, which replaces the common elderberry, Sambucus canadensis, in the north, has beautiful scarlet berries, but does not seem to bear heavily enough to make a real landscape impact, although it does bloom pretty nicely. The berries do not stay on the plant long,  but are eaten by birds as qucikly as they ripen.  The berries have a rather  crisp, nutty, acidic flavor, but they are small and hardly worth the effort to pick them (never eat wild fruit unless you are absolutely certain of identification and edibility). 
   As I am looking out the window at the large elderberry shrub in the back yard it is literally shaking from robins flying in and out, gorging themselves on the berries. 
   This shrub can grow very large, tolerates a wide variety of soil and moisture conditions,  and can be invasive in the smaller landscape.  Once established it is very difficult to eradicate, so us it with caution.  It is only in our back yard because it grew up in a rock wall and I couldn't dig it out, or kill it by cutting it back severely.
  After a while I decided that anything so tenacious deserved to live, but I have to seriously prune it back every year to keep it from taking over the garden.   I find it to be something between an attractive nuisance and a botanical curiosity.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Monday, 7:30 AM.  63 degrees F at the ferry dock, 61 on the back porch.  Wind SW, calm to very light.  The sky is mostly cloudy and the humidity is 95%  The barometer is still falling, currently at 29.76", and we are likely to get a thunderstorm this afternoon.
   Lupines are still blooming, including the above large field of flowers on Hw. 13, just north of Washburn.   They were still a good show this past weekend, but will be mostly faded and gone by the 4th of July.  By then, however, we will have enjoyed them for a good month; something of a record, I should think.
   When I took the above photo yesterday, we were the third vehicle in line to do so.  Tourists do indeed love this fine annual floral display.

Sunday, June 28, 2015



Sunday,  7:00 AM.  66 degrees F at the ferry dock, 62 degrees on the back porch.  Wind WNW, calm with very light gusts.  The sky has a high overcast, the humidity is 78% and the barometer is falling, currently at 29.81".  We will get some rain later today and tomorrow.
   The Bayfield strawberry crop is ripe, and being picked! The berries are large, sweet and plentiful.  Almost as large as the woody imitations from California, they put those impostors to shame with their fresh, juicy sweetness.
   Not that there is anything terribly wrong with the huge California berries, but they just can't compare with the berries grown naturally on our sandy soils.  Bayfield strawberries are the real deal!
   When contemplating  all the past and current terrorism, It saddens me that there are people in this world with souls so dead that they would rather kill themselves and others in the name of some spiritual abstraction than enjoy the simple pleasure of eating strawberries here, today, in this world.
   A strawberry is perhaps the perfect example of God's loving bounty, proof that God, nature and man can cooperate to produce such an earthly delight.  We would have a heaven on earth if all God's children would simply cooperate in growing, harvesting and enjoying the fruits of the earth, foremost of which I consider to be the strawberry.
   Can strawberries save the world?  Maybe, just maybe, they could.

Saturday, June 27, 2015






Saturday, 7:00 AM.  61degrees F at the ferry dock, 54 on the back porch.  Wind light and variable.  The sky is crystal clear, the humidity 83%.  The bareometer is falling, now at 30.07", predicting rain tomorrow or Monday.  But for now it is a perfect morning.
   The American larch, or tamarack, Larix laricina, in the Pine Family (Pinaceae) is a common native tree of far northern Canada to the upper Midwest in North America.  Tamaracks'  preferred habitats are swamps and bogs but they grow in nature on much drier sites as well.
   Tamarac wood is very strong and was commonly used in the past for ship and barn timbers.  The needle foliage is very delicate in appearance, and is bright green in spring,  lush green in summer, and finally turning to glorious gold and  then bronze in the fall. New needle growth is long and pendulous, but as it matures the needles are clustered in whorls on the branches. Tamaracks are deciduous conifers, and lose their needles in fall; the branches are bare in the winter.
   Tamaracks bear cones, the tiny male cones disseminating golden yellow pollen in spring.  The diminutive female cones are red purple before they are pollinated, and look like tiny roses, no larger than a finger nail.  As they mature they bear naked seeds, which are shed as the female cones ripen and open.  As the tamarack tree grows, the fertile branches bearing female cones occur higher and higher on the tree, rendering them harder and harder to discern.
   The tamarack is one of my favorite trees, having a diverse beauty and seasonal interest that is difficult to match.  But, for better or worse, they grow very large, and are difficult to use in the residential landscape.

Friday, June 26, 2015





Friday, 7:15 AM.  57 degrees F at the ferry dock, 52 on the back porch.  Wind calm to very light,  The sky is cloudy with a high overcast and there is fog over the channel.  The humidity is 92% and the barometer is steady, now at 30.12".  Yesterday morning started the same way but it was beautiful by noon.
   Wisconsin has a number of wild rose species, all with single petaled flowers  in shades of pale pink to red.  Most horticultural roses are hybrids of various European and Asian rose species, so our North American native roses are often overlooked.  I have to admit I have never taken the interest in them they deserve, and I don't know them well, although most of the Wisconsin natives are easy enough to identify using available botanical keys.   I haven't done much of that, either.
   The native rose pictured is Rosa blanda, a medium sized shrub native to dry, sandy loam soils of sunny prairies and dunes. Its fruits, or hips, are smooth, red and berry-like.  It is easy to identify because it is virtually thornless, the other native roses having varying degrees and kinds of thorns.  We are quite spoiled by the many types of hybrid roses and their progenitors that are available in the nursery trade, but the native roses are worth paying more attention to.
   Ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolious, is a large, mounded shrub in the Rose Family that is native to much of the eastern half of North America.  Its habitat is rocky stream sides and moist thickets.  It will grow in partial shade and on a wide variety of soils.  It is quite floriferous and has good fall color and interesting orange colored, papery fruit. Larger, more tree-like individuals have an interesting exfoliating bark reminiscent of paper birch bark. It is used to a degree in landscaping, and there are some very interesting hybrids with dark maroon leaves.  I have to admit I have not seen it growing in the wild, although it is often used extensively in naturalized landscapes.  Ninebark is something of an oddity, but it is tough, interesting and useful.

Thursday, June 25, 2015



Thursday, 8:00 AM.  55 degrees F on both the ferry dock and the back porch.  Wind calm to light with a few stronger gusts.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, with some fog over the lake.  The humidity is 92% and we have had a trace of rain.  The barometer stands at 30.62" and is more-or-less steady.  It looks like it will be a damp day.
   Well, for what it is worth, it seems I have made yet another enemies list, this one declared by the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who says that so-called "climate change deniers" are simply "not normal."
   Now, I have never claimed to be particularly normal and do not wish to be so,  therefore the snide proclamation does not upset me much.  As a matter of fact, I will admit there have been times in my life when I have gone out of my way to be contentious, combative, and a stickler for the facts, rather than merely absorbing whatever information was presented to me as incontrovertible truth  (that has gotten me in a lot of trouble with parents, professors, men of the cloth and a host of others).  Come to think of it, that is a pretty good definition of the scientific method.
   "Cogitus, ergo abnormal," said the Red Queen to Alice.  It seems we have all gone down the rabbit hole.
   The American vetch, Vicea americana, in the Legume Family (Leguminosae), is a common roadside and pasture plant also native throughout much of North America.  It has quite colorful panicles of small, blue, pea-type flowers.  It creeps and climbs by tendrils and can be somewhat weedy, but is not very aggressive.  As a legume it enriches the soil, and is much used in restoration projects.
   Blue wildflowers are something of a rarity, and the American vetch adds color and interest to our countrysides.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015




Wednesday, 8:00 AM,  60 degrees F. Wind NE, calm with occasional light to moderate gusts.  The sky is clear, the humidity 84%.  The barometer is more-or-less steady, at 30.05".  We may get some rain this evening, but it is a nice morning.
   Sweet Cicely, Osmorhiza chilensis,  in the Parsley (Umbelliferae) Family, started to bloom a few days ago and now is prominent along roadsides near the lake, often in conjunction with lupines, which are beginning to decline.  Sweet Cicely is one of my favorite wildflowers, and  according to Fasset's Spring Flora of Wisconsin, this species (chilensis)  is found in Wisconsin only in Bayfield County, near Lake Superior, although there are related species elsewhere in the state and region.
  The small white flowers, which grow in umbells, are very lightly suffused with pink, and are  sweetly, lightly anise scented.  The genus name in Greek means scented root, and the species name refers to it also occurring in South America (it also is found in the western mountains of the US and in California).

   Native Americans used a decoction of the roots as a physic, also for colds and related complaints, much as one might use mint.  A note of caution: never ingest anything in the Parsley Family without being precisely sure of its identification and edibility, as some of the plants in the genus are extremely poisonous.
   I always pick a few sweet Cicely for the vase, and they fill the room with their sweet aroma.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015



Tuesday, 8:00 AM.  64 degrees F at the ferry dock, 58 on the back porch.  Wind WNW, gusty at times.  The sky is clear, the humidity 78%, and the barometer is still rising, now at 30.01." It is a fine day.
   Wild raspberries and blackberries are in bloom now in hedgerows, woods edges and roadsides.  The raspberries and blackberries (brambles) are species and varieties of the genus Rubus, in the Rose Family.  There are hundreds of species and varieties throughout our range, and except for a few that are more easily identified by heir fruit, I will leave them to the taxonomists expert in that area.
   Suffice it to say that most folks are only interested in the blackberries and raspberries when they bear their edible fruit, but the flowers are beautiful and often fragrant as well, and some species are covered with blooms at this time, and make a real statement in the landscape.
   One may think there is little way to identify one white flowering shrub from another from a distance, but if one becomes familiar with duration and sequence of bloom, it is really quite simple to make a good guess, even from a speeding auto.

Monday, June 22, 2015





Monday, 7:00 AM.  64 degrees F at the ferry dock, 60 on the back porch.  Wind N, calm with light gusts.  The sky is overcast with a few low black clouds.  The humidity is 89% and the barometer is still falling, now standing at 29.70".  Thunderstorms with hail and high winds are occurring in southern Bayfield County but it looks like the city will be sparred, although we will probably get some rain, a few drops of which are falling at present.
   What constitutes a "wildflower?"  Are wildflowers only native plants, or does the term include non-native, showy flowers in a naturalized environment?  I will postulate the later, if they are aesthetically pleasing and occur naturally.
   Many of our roadside and field "wildflowers" are indeed European or Asian plants, often familiar since times of early settlement because they arrived on our shores with agricultural seeds from Europe.
Two very floriferous (and mostly innocuous) flowers are the wild daisy, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum, and orange hawkweed, Hieracium aurontiacum, both in the Composit Family.  The former can be very prevalent in roadsides and pastures throughout Central North America.  The later is more restricted to northern and eastern North America. In the  past hawkweed was considered an aid to eyesight, the latin names translating directly into its common name. The two alien species often grow together and provide a very colorful "wildflower" display.
   Some will object to my calling these and other innocuous, colorful alien plants  "wildflowers," but "One man's weed is another man's wildflower."

Sunday, June 21, 2015





Sunday, 7:00 AM.  55 degrees F at the ferry dock, 53 on the back porch.  Wind ENE, calm with light gusts  The sky is partly overcast and cloudy, the humidity 94% and the barometer is beginning to fall, now standing at 29.87"  We are due for more rain tomorrow.
   Like everyone else, we are stunned by the senseless massacre in Charleston.  I believe these outrages are caused by the confluence of two factors: hate, and drugs, the first of which can only be combated  by a return to faith and morality, and the second by treatment  and law enforcement.
   While returning from Ashland yesterday, I spotted this very wet immature eagle sitting on a piling in the water, just off Hwy. 2.  He evidently didn't feel like flying, as I got up quite close.
   A few years back we planted a half dozen interesting and very pretty 'Fort McNair' hybrid buckeyes on 6th street (which is Hwy 13) in Bayfield.  This tree is a hybrid between the horse chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanaum and the red buckeye, Aesculus pavia.  Both are in the Horsechestnut Family,  They attract a lot of attention when they are in bloom.  Hardy in Zone 4, they have an upright habit and can be a nice small street tree.  They have indeed proven winter hardy but have taken a beating from snow plowing, and I have found them hard to obtain from nurseries due to losses during the last few winters, but eventually I would like to see a whole alley of them as an entrance to the city.
   Another often unrecognized tree that is quite nice in bloom is the black locust, Robinia pseudo acacia, in the Pea Family.  Being a legume, it enriches the soil where it grows.  It is native much further south in the US, but is hardy north.  Black locust wood is highly resistant to rot, so was much used for fence posts at one time, and therefore was grown on farm woodlots, so appears almost everywhere there are farms.
   Unfortunately, black locust is extremely invasive and has nasty thorns, and is a real problem in farm fields and pastures.  It will be blooming everywhere in Wisconsin at this time, and in some locations the woods and fencerows will be white with its sweetly fragrant blooms.
   Like the rose, its beauty comes with the price tag of its thorns.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015





Saturday, 6:45 AM.  65 degrees F at the ferry dock, 60 on the back porch.  Wind SW, calm with light gusts.  The sky is cloudy with some overcast.  The humidity is 78% and the barometer is at 29.73"and bottoming out.  We will likely get some rain.
   Hawthorns (Crataegus species, in the Rose Family) are interesting and useful small trees, in nature found on the edge of woods and in fence rows.  Many are very floriferous and have attractive foliage and habit and can be used to good effect in the landscape.  They flower after flowering crabapples, so they provide a continuation of bloom.  Like crabapples, they bear attractive, small, apple-like fruit that can be quite decorative and are valuable wildlife food (edible but not very tasty).
   Unfortunately, they have some drawbacks.  Most are extremely thorny, some downright dangerously so.  As a young man digging hawthorns by hand in the nursery I hated them, as there was no way to handle them without ending up looking like I had had and encounter with a wildcat.  Nowadays equipment takes care of most of the digging, but the thorns of many species and varieties pose a danger to maintenance workers, pedestrians and children.  Also, most hawthorns have a very wide branching habit, making them unfit as street trees.
   Pictured are two hawthorns which have no or few thorns, beautiful flowers, and a good landscape habit.  The white-flowered hawthorn is Crataegus phanopyrum, the Washington thorn, which has glossy green leaves that are reddish in color when emerging, and red to maroon in the fall.  It is resistant to fireblight, a disease which can disfigure and even kill hawthorns, crabapples, apples and other members of the rose family.  It is also the last of the hawthorns to bloom, the flowers lasting as long as two weeks.  Some people find the scent of the flowers very malodorous, although I don't find it objectionable.
   The 'Paul's Scarlet' hawthorn is a selection of the English hawthorn, Crataegus laevigita.  Its double petalled flowers are very beautiful, looking very much like roses.  It also has an upright habit, making it quite useable in the landscape.  Unfortunately, this hawthorn, which was once very popular, is usually very susceptible to fireblight.  The one pictured, located in a Bayfield park, has not been infected with fireblight.  Unfortunately, I do not know if this individual tree has a natural immunity, or has simply not been infected.
   Some hawthorns are very good for landscape use, some bad.  And then there are some, like the cockspur hawthorn, with its 3," sharp thorns, which although beautiful on the edge of a woods, is just plain ugly to be around.
   Hawthorns: call them the good, the bad and the ugly.

Friday, June 19, 2015




Friday,  55 degrees F at the ferry dock, 50 on the back porch.Wind SSW, very light.  The humidity is 84%, the barometer falling, now at 30.16."
   The perennial garden is blooming with Iris, peonies, columbine, lilies and other late-spring flowers.  It is all a colorful jumble of  blooms and green leaves, an appearance we love but which may be too naturalistic and informal for many tastes.
   The white pines, Pinus strobus, in the Pine Family, are ready to shed their pollen, the male cones looking like shinny golden buttons on a green overcoat.  The male cones are on the lower and mid-branches of the trees, while the seed-bearing female cones hang pendulously from the upper branches.  When the pollen is shed, the wind blows it up into the upper branches to fertilize the female cones (the seed cones are still green and difficult to see, but last year's cones are quite evident),
   Conifer pollen release is a major ecological event, and locations near large white pines, such as our back yard, will be laden with dusty golden pollen for days.  I will be sneezing, that's for sure, and porch railings and furniture will be covered with the golden dust.  It will take a good rain to wash the pollen from streets and other surfaces. Meanwhile, we are having a botanical gold rush.

Thursday, June 18, 2015




Thursday, 8:15 AM.  64 degrees F at the ferry dock, 60 on the back porch.  Wind E, calm with a occasional light gusts.  The humidity is 76% and the barometer has begun to rise rapidly, now at 29.96".  We will have several days of very nice weather.
   There is a large rose bush on the corner of 6th and Wilson that I am quite certain is the old fashioned “Harrison’s Yellow Rose,” which has been grown for almost two centuries and is still available. There are a number of these venerable old roses blooming around Bayfield.  It is only a spring bloomer, but when in flower is covered with semi-double, fragrant flowers. It is thorny and spreads, so must be used with caution, but is a worthwhile plant in the right spot. This is the rose that was carried across the country by settlers moving west, and has thus become also known also as “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” and "The Oregon Trail Rose." It was a chance hybrid occurring around 1830 in the garden of a Mr. Harrison of New York City. It was grown and marketed by Prince's Nursery on Long Island.
   The song, “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” is thus associated with this rose. The “Yellow Rose” of the song, however, was a young mulatto (hence the "yellow") woman. Named either Molly Morgan or Emily Wade, she is credited in folklore as a heroine of the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, in which the Texas militia under Sam Houston destroyed the Mexican army of the tyrant Santa Anna with virtually no Texas casualties, thus attaining Texas independence from Mexico.
   Molly (or Emily) purportedly  seduced the Mexican general on the afternoon of the battle, facilitating the Texan surprise attack. Soon after the battle, the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (composer unknown) became popular and has remained so as a Texas folk song. In 1955 it was arranged and played by Mitch Miller and his orchestra and became a national hit song, even eclipsing Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock.”
   Texas became an independent republic in 1836, and voluntarily joined the Union in 1845. The legend and the song say a lot about Texas and Texans.  The Battle of San Jacinto was considered payback for the massacre at the Alamo, a visit to which cannot fail to stir an American's soul.
             (Mitch Miller rendition, 1955)
    1) There's a yellow rose in Texas, That I am going to see,
    Nobody else could miss her, Not half as much as me.
    She cried so when I left her It like to broke my heart,
    And if I ever find her, We nevermore will part.
    She's the sweetest little rosebud That Texas ever knew,Her eyes are bright as diamonds, They sparkle like the dew;You may talk about your Clementine, And sing of Rosalee,But the YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS Is the only girl for me.
    2) When the Rio Grande is flowing, The starry skies are bright,
    She walks along the river In the quiet summer night:
    I know that she remembers, When we parted long ago,
    I promise to return again, And not to leave her so.
    3) Oh now I'm going to find her, For my heart is full of woe,
    And we'll sing the songs together, That we sung so long ago
    We'll play the bango gaily, And we'll sing the songs of yore,
    And the Yellow Rose of Texas Shall be mine forevermore.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015




Wednesday, 7:45 AM,  55 degrees F at the fery dock, 52 on the back porch.  Wind NE, calm with very light gusts.  The sky is overcast and it is raining.  The humidity is 86% and the barometer is taking a nosedive, standing now at 30.25".
   Several incidental comments: the maple trees in the front yard  are now large enough after fifteen years or so from being planted to shed a lot of seed, which is all over the driveway; hummingbirds are fickle little things, as since they emptied the feeder while I was in the hospital they have left and haven't come back, even though I filled the feeder as soon as I could.
   The highbush cranberry, Viburnum americanum (AKA trilobum) is not a cranberry at all, but a member of the Honeysuckle Family (Caprifoliaceae). The true cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, is a member of the Heath Family (Ericaceae), and is a resident of acid bogs in northern North America.   
   To make nomenclature even more confusing, many authorities consider highbush cranberry a variety of the Eurasian species, and have named it Viburnum opulous var. americanum.  Suffice it to say it is a visually ubiquitous species in the landscape when in bloom, and once one recognizes it, one will see it everywhere, on woods edges, in woods understories, roadsides, etc.
   It is a large shrub native to much of southern Canada, New England and the Midwest.  The compound flowers are large, with an outer ring of showy white,  sterile ray flowers.  The misnamed "cranberry" fruits ripen deep cherry red in October and can remain on the shrub all winter, until the next spring's flowers appear.  The berries are edible but very astringent, thus the "cranberry" description.  Although too tart to eat out of hand, they are excellent in preserves.  They also provide  late winter food for birds.
   Highbush cranberry, also called American cranberry, is an excellent shrub for landscape use, particularly in the larger yard and for naturalizing.  It does not spread as aggressively as many shrubs, has excellent floral interest and fall leaf color, and abundant, highly decorative fruit that attracts birds in late winter.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015




Tuesday,  6:30 AM. 56 degrees F at the ferry dock, 50 degrees on the back porch.  Wind NNE, calm to light.  The sky is crystal clear, the humidity 70%,  The barometer has begun to fall, and now stands at 30. 30".  It will be fine weather today, but probably rain tomorrow.
   One of my favorite, and underused, native shrubs is mountain maple, Acer spicatum, in the Maple Family.
   It is a tree of  northeastern North America, from far northern Canada to the Lake States and New England,  and south at elevation in the Appalachian Mountains.  It is an understory shrub or small tree to twenty feet or so, growing in the rich soils of moist woods along stream beds and rocky outcroppings.
   It has the opposite leaves and branches typical of maples, and a three-lobed, toothed leaf.  It bears interesting yellow flower spikes in spring, followed by colorful, red-winged seeds.  The fall leaf color is a brilliant red to orange, and it lights up the fall woods like a jack-o-lantern.
   It is little used in landscaping and is not very available from nurseries, which is truly a shame, as it is a very interesting and attractive plant to use in the the native or naturalized landscape.

Monday, June 15, 2015




Monday, 8:00 AM.  66 degrees F at the ferry dock, 64 on the back porch.  Wind NE, light with some moderate gusts.  The sky is partly cloudy with some overcast, but is clearing.  The humidity is 80% and the barometer stands at 29.94" and is rising.  It should be a nice day, with beautiful weather tomorrow.
   The glorious flame azalea pictured, Rhododendron calendulaceum, in the Heath Family (Ericaceae), is blooming in Washburn.  It is located on the west side of Hwy. 13, on the north side of town.  It is very large, and makes a striking image on the edge of a small woodlot.  This azalea (a deciduous Rhododendron) is native to the southern Appalachian Mountains, from southern NY and Ohio to northern Georgia.  It should be noted that all Rhododendrons are highly toxic to humans and animals, but it is unlikely any would be ingested by humans, and I have not heard of any human dermatological problems.  They should be deer proof.
   The best public azalea and Rhododendron display I know of is at Calloway Gardens, in Pine Mountain, Georgia, an hour's drive west of Atlanta.  The mild environment here along the shores of Lake Superior, and our sandy, acid soils allow this plant to survive here.  They do best north in light shade.
   Other hardy Rhododendron species and varieties, including the above introduction from the University of Minnesota,  'Orange Lights,' also do well, as do some from the University of Helsinki, Finland, and from Canadian sources.  As with the flame azalea, they all will appreciate light to moderate shade, adequate moisture and a well drained, acid soil.
   Azaleas have such vibrant flower colors that they are difficult to use in our rather subdued northern landscapes, but as focal points and collections they can be spectacular.  They really do not fit in a purely native northern landscape, but can be interwoven successfully into a naturalistic landscape display.
   But one cannot help but say "Wow!" when confronted with a large, blooming flame azalea.

Sunday, June 14, 2015








Sunday, 7:30 AM.  54 degrees F at both the ferry dock and on the back porch, which seldom happens.  Wind E, mostly calm with some gusts.  The sky has a high overcast and it is quite foggy, the fog horns sounding repeatedly.  The humidity is 97% and the barometer is again falling, now standing at 29.92".  The weather changed yesterday afternoon and it looks like it will stay damp and perhaps rainy until at least tomorrow morning,
   I often hesitate to tell the exact location of special wildflower finds, but the Almanac is a pretty safe venue for such information, so here goes.  I have been running Buddy down the dead end Bay View Beach Road, off Hwy. 13, and in doing so have found it a treasure trove of Northern Wisconsin wildflowers.  None are rare but many are seldom seen, and there they are, all growing together in one easy-to-access location.  This is a town road, so it gets local traffic, is graded, plowed, etc., and yet here these tough native spring flowering plants are, not only surviving but thriving.
   Canada May flower, Maianthemum canadense, is common in our woods but many folks do not know it.The same can be said for star flower, Trientalis borealis, although it is not as common; dwarf cornel, AKA bunch berry, Cornus canadensis, is a welcome sight.  I have written about all these plants before and more detailed information can be obtained by using the blog search engine.
  More immediately exciting for me are two lesser known northern spring flowers; the blue bead lily, and the moccasin flower orchid.
  Blue bead lily, Clintonia borealis, in the lily family, is named for DeWitt Clinton, an early 19th Century American naturalist and distinguished politician who served as a U S Senator from New York and also as NY governor.  He was influential in the building of the Erie Canal and early American steam railroads and ships (he is also proof-positive that flower geeks can excel at other things as well).  The species name reflects the plant's habitat as being the far northern North American continent, from Hudson Bay and Labrador to the Lake States, New England and south in the eastern mountains.  The common name refers to the plant's blue, bead-like berries, which were used in 19th Century medicine. 
   The moccasin flower, Cyprepedium acaule, in the Lily Family, is an orchid native to much of Canada and most of the eastern half of the U S.  Its habitat is boreal and deciduous forest floors and edges.  It is not truly rare or endangered, but it  is a real treat to see in bloom.   The greatest threat to this orchid is gardeners digging it up to transplant in their gardens, a process the plants seldom survive.  Unless their habitat is in immediate danger of being completely destroyed, they and other wild plants should be left alone and in place.  The plant has two stemless basal leaves (acaule, Latin, without a stem), with strong parallel venation.  It is pollinated by bees which are attracted by its fragrance.  Like other orchids, Cyprepedium relies on a symbiosis with a fungus to germinate seeds and  complete its life cycle. 
   Bay View Beach Road is indeed a walk on the wild side.