Poet, Playwright, Workshop Facilitator
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Welcome to daily nature photo and creative writing blog, #NewThisDay

Welcome to my daily nature photo blog

Writing from My Photo Stream ~ Kelly DuMar


#NewThisDay Writing From My Photo Stream

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
— May Sarton
Blue Flag Iris

Blue Flag Iris

Every June this Blue Flag Iris blooms at the edge of the swamp. Today, I walked with my friend who lives on the other side of the woods. We meet with our dogs in the meadow. We walked to see the lady slippers, and as we passed the wetland swamp that spills from the Charles, I saw this purple beauty in bloom.

The flowers are cross-pollinated by bumblebees and long-horned bees (Synhalonia spp.); butterflies and skippers also visit the flowers occasionally, but they are less effective at cross-pollination. These insects suck nectar from the flowers primarily, although some of the bees also collect pollen. Some insects feed on Blue Flag Iris and other Iris spp. destructively. They include such species as the weevil Mononychus vulpeculus (larvae feed inside seed capsules), the Agromyzid fly Cerodontha magnicornis (larvae mine leaves), the Syrphid fly Eumerus tuberculatus(larvae feed on rhizomes), the mealybug Rhizoecus falcifer (feeds on rhizomes), the aphid Dysaphis tulipae (feeds on foliage & rhizomes), and the thrips Frankliniella occidentalis (feeds on flowers). Caterpillars of such moths as Ctenucha virginica (Virginia Ctenucha), Spilosoma congrua (Agreeable Tiger Moth), and Macronoctua onusta (Iris Borer Moth), also feed on these plants. Mammalian herbivores rarely bother this plant because the foliage and rootstocks are somewhat toxic, causing irritation of the gastrointestinal tract.

As I walked across the meadow after parting from my friend, I stopped to greet the purple clover just arriving for June and rapidly covering the meadow.

At home, I stayed out in the yard to finish planting and weeding: a mountain laurel and a hydrangea and some purple sage go in. Mountain Laurel because it is a family favorite from summers by Laurel Lake in New Hampshire where it blooms in the last week of June or the first week of July. And all the new plants need daily water. I realized gardening is like swimming when I haven’t been in the pool or lake for a long time. My stamina builds day by day. I was not exhausted after my hours outdoors today, I did not need a nap. I just felt satisfied and hopeful that all will bloom and survive. The Blue Flag Iris got to the swamp by some happy accident and blooms and thrives so naturally. What a gorgeous flower!

In the late afternoon, my younger brother stopped by on his motor cycle for an unplanned visit. We were heading out the door; I needed to drive Frank to a memorial service. But then my daughter and her fiance stopped by too, unexpectedly. And I wished we didn’t have to go. Yesterday Frank’s tractor stopped running and he couldn’t get it started and he couldn’t get it fixed for a couple of weeks. Before we left, I looked out into the yard at the group of men circling the stalled tractor: my husband, my brother, my son, my daughter’s fiance. They were seeing what could be done. Frank, in his best suit in the sunny yard with his broken tractor and his buds.

We left the men in the yard and drove to the Memorial Service, and he got a message from Fred: the tractor was fixed.

Kelly DuMarComment