Drought-y walk

Mary Isabelle on August 6, 2011

Mary Isabelle on August 5, 2012

We went to the arboretum today to see what the drought hath wrought. It rained last night, so the stream and ponds were muddy and not as dry as they must have been yesterday. But we saw nary a lizard or a snake, one frog, one toad. No grasshoppers, no turtles, no yellow composites that the bees and the birds feed on. No dragonflies, even, no praying mantis. The jewelweed that was alive with hummingbirds last year is simply not there- dried up before it had a chance to bloom. Not many flowers at all, except the very deep-rooted ones in the prairies, which seem to have a water table under them, they were still pretty green. But the woods and the glades were not good at all, dry and brown, dying trees everywhere. Mary Isabelle even lacked for cover. There’s still lots of good stuff to see, but I couldn’t help but feel sad for all the tree and plant death, and think of the creatures they support. Anyway, here are some pictures, good and bad, for what it’s worth. When I have time I will pull up photos from last year this time for comparison.

Fruits on Solomon’s Seal

Penstemon digitalis (aka Beard’s Tongue)

pond was low and muddy from rain

Twice-stabbed lady beetle! I was so glad to see her, since mostly what I see these days is that invasive Asian lady beetle.

Kentucky Coffee Tree seed pods. The seeds within can lie in the ground as long as 40 years and still germinate.

Never seen this hazard sign before.

The glade is just brown, and the dying trees in the surrounding hills make it seem like late fall.

The glade on August 8, 2011

The dogwoods at the edge of the glade were dead or dying. Will miss their blooms next year.

Young dying oak

Leaves on the forest floor from dying trees or trees trying to survive by shedding leaves.

I was happy to see that the squiggly dogwood in the draw was still alive, though surrounded by dead and dying plants and trees.

Here is the draw from last year, on August 6, 2011:

Compass plant, with its deep roots, has done fine through the drought and heat.

The tree up on the prairie is thinning. I didn’t go up there to see, hope it will be ok next year.

Seeds from the Green Dragon

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