When Iris eyes are smiling...!

Hello nature loving friends! I am back in Maine and enjoying our first sunny day after a few days of, you know, that ever present rain. It was warm in the 70's and couldn't have been more delightful. I have been gardening since all the flower beds have been invaded by grass and other unwelcome guests. However, I went over to our new property to see what was blooming on a wild scale and was not disappointed. We have an open field that is home for a wide assortment of sun-loving bloomers. I saw, and enjoyed, buttercups aplenty, golden cinquefoil, and Grove Sandwort with a Blue-eyed grass catching the blue of the sky to reflect its beauty. But the real stars of the show in our field, were the Iris that bloom in wet areas. I got down close to examine these regal looking blossoms with petals in sets of threes. To sort out flowers, one must count the petals. Most come in fours, fives or multiples, but these Iris stick to petals in triad.

Botanists credit the lines on these petals as being purposeful directives to guide insects to rub against the flowers' pollen producing anthers in their search for nectar. The anthers are positioned so that an exploring insect will pick up and transfer pollen assuring cross-fertilization and a mix of genetic material from plant to plant.

These Iris like their roots firmly rooted in a moist substrate. Our new property has places where the water accumulates and creates seasonal amphibian breeding sites known as vernal pools. On this particular day, toads could be heard giving their time honored mating calls. A larger pond assures greater success in toad maturation. If you haven't heard toads trill, you are missing a natural treat.

Before leaving for Maine, I had the good fortune of catching one of the Botany Trail's Iris in bloom up near the pond in Connecticut. It was not blue/purple like these in Maine, but was spectacular - all decked out in yellow with moist droplets to provide contrast on the sword-like foliage.

Maine has more than its share of mosquitoes. They have been enjoying my blood. I braved their vicious piercings to check out woodland wildflowers and contrast them with what I last saw in Connecticut. Here, we have the same ubiquitous Canada Mayflower and Starflower. Sarsaparilla is very common and its separate floral stalk has sent up balls of blooms. Fringed Polygala is on its way out, but Pink Ladyslippers are numerous and stately. Yellow Clintonia is in bloom, while the yellow colored roots of Goldthread hold the its spent flowers erect. The blue of Birdseye Speedwell always stops me in my tracks. Three of our bloomers are featured on my home page: Jack In The Pulpit, Hobblebush (Viburnum) and the Pink Ladyslipper.
6/10/03 Downeast Ronnie