Sunday, May 01, 2011

April Showers Bring... a New Berry!

Earth Day and Arbor Day are both more than a week past, and May Day is well underway as this late-breaking edition of the Berry-Go-Round plant carnival hits the streets. It's time to find out what those April showers have brought us. Some entries below came straight to me, others I tracked down in the wilds of the web, looking for signs of spring and plant life. Enjoy these offerings!

It's All About Trees

First up, grab a shovel and join Jade at Brain Ripples , who brings an early entry of 15 Celebrations in Spruce and Birch to kick off our thoughts about trees with reasons to celebrate and, of course, plant trees! Link-rich, this post is a carnival in itself, and well worth a visit.

Over at the Digital Botanic Garden, we find delicious walnuts, along with a little reminiscence about the walnut-shell boats of childhood. In the spring theme, Phil also brings us a favorite showy flowering shrub. Nice for me, as we don’t get to see these much around here. Back in March, Phil also explained the language of love, floral edition, by outlining how two fictional romances might have—or have not—taken place. A must read! (bookmark it for Valentine's Day)

Step-by-step spring from Sarah at Musings from Dave whose written musings... on the gradual onset of the green season are as charming as her photographic accompaniment. Second installment here. And earlier fabulous time-lapse close-ups all help us see spring as it happens!

Tai at Earth, Wind & Water explores the virtues of Red Filbert, a new one to me, but most attractive!

Please welcome Georgia’s first submission to BGR from Local Ecologist, as she combines history and ecology to chronicle changes in the urban tree canopy on Broadway north of Columbus Circle between 1901 and 1912. What happens to trees when New York City builds a subway? Great sleuthing, Georgia—we hope to hear from you again.

Ted at Beetles in the Bush brought us the spectacular ceibo, also known as cockspur coral tree. It's the national flower of both Argentina and Uruguay, so we appreciate the lengths he went to for these gorgeous photos!

As we are speaking of trees, The Nature Conservancy undertakes to Plant a Billion, in its efforts to restore the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, the lungs of the planet—and much more. Meet a few tropical trees, watch their seedlings grow on the home page at this site, and see if you can help this critical project.

Lest we forget that much of our planet is treeless, FF's companion blog, Small Wonders, provides an opportunity to rethink Arbor Day in favor of prairies where appropriate, along with a review of this holiday's history.

On to Spring's Wildflowers

Puca at Anybody Seen My Focus? invites us to join a hike on the Bradley Mountain Trail in the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve in DeKalb County, Georgia. Parts two and three of the hike follow, with fascinating terrain and natural "dish gardens" (a new phrase to me) that hold two outstanding wildflowers: the Elf Orpine (Diamorpha smallii) and the Oneflower Stitchwort (Minuartia uniflora).

Comment1 at Real Monstrosities offers an inventive look at pitcher plants from someone who “decided to rekindle my love of creepy crawlies and years of avidly watching David Attenborough documentaries and create this, Real Monstrosities. Life at it's most bizarre. A collection of creatures strange in body or habit.” Thanks for joining us this month!

At Hill-stead's Nature Blog, Diane tells us how to feed the hungry, especially birds, butterflies, and other picky eaters who depend on native plants for sustenance! This story of winter's deprivation offers a thoughtful look at an important side effect of the spread of invasive exotics and a valuable reminder of another good reason to go native in your landscape.

Mary, the Accidental Botanist, takes us on a visit to her local library, the internet and shows how we as individuals can contribute. It’s a reference collection where any and all of us can make a difference!

Jeremy and Luigi at Agricultural Biodiversity bring us a coconut imposter and cautionary tales about germplasm documentation. Jeremy adds "the comments add a lot to the discussion... [comments are] one of the best things about having a blog, and one reason to submit to BGR is to encourage new readers and potentially useful new comments." So, don't forget to comment—it's important!

Dave at Osage Orange dropped by with another reminder in the year of the Juniper, this time an essay on proper pruning and other spring garden chores.

Some "wildflowers" can fool us, and beauty is always in the eye of the beholder! Kate at Beyond the Brambles discovered a way to turn the tables (and fork) on those who outgrow their hospitality. She found the invasive Japanese knotweed to be Tangy, Fibrous, and Slightly Sweet. Who knew? We should be eating more of these! Kate just discovered BGR and plans to host in July—welcome aboard!

A few more gleanings...

Ellen, the Adirondack Naturalist, has been transplanted to Michigan, where she found a seasonally appropriate story of resurrection to post.

The Phytophactor has produced no less than 65 posts since the last BGR, and, it being spring, at least half of them are about plants. You'll find lots more there, but I simply have to point out one little ditty he calls Plant Porn. Must-see video! Sex and archegonia bring to life what we read about in college botany but never got to see happening!

At Botany Photo of the Day, I picked out skunk cabbage among this spring's offerings. You'll find much more to explore there as well.

Nina at Nature Remains goes Searching for Spring, as she brings us a tiny harbinger, Draba verna (favorite research subject of my friend Julie). On a spring wildflower trip with the Midwest Native Plant Society, the rare Draba brachycarpa also puts in a welcome appearance. If you're still hungry for spring wildflowers, Nina will help, with little men of the spring woods, a delightful frolic, and time with trout lilies.

Tell them Berry-Go-Round sent you

Lots to keep you busy! Thanks for stopping by! Please enjoy these authors and give them feedback. We hope you'll spread the word about Berry-Go-Round by linking back if your post was included, or even if you just enjoyed this edition. Next month's adventures in botany will be hosted by Matt at Sitka Nature.


Jeremy said...

Ah yes, comments. Thanks for linking to our two posts, and for encouraging comments. You know it makes sense!

Sally said...

And thank YOU, Jeremy, for commenting!

The Phytophactor said...

What a great round up! Berry Go Round and rhubarb pie for breakfast; who could ask for more!

mary said...

Excellent edition, Sally. A good read in an of itself plus lots of enticing posts to enjoy. Thanks!

JSK said...

Wonderful edition, Sally.
It's fascinating, the range of Spring environments - from barely out? of the snow to well into Spring.

Georgia said...

Thanks for including our photo essay in this BGR, Sally. I am eager to read the other essays.

Sally said...

Thank you all for commenting--this was a fun edition to put together.

PP: Our rhubarb isn't quite ready, but maybe you should try the knotweed in your next pie. Kate says it resembles rhubarb.

Mary: Thanks for the compliment!

JSK: You must have visited a lot of our contributors; thanks for exploring.

Georgia: I loved your combination of history and ecology; please join us again.

Dave Coulter said...


Thanks so much for posting up all of this - including my brief essay. Hopefully "writing time" will become more available soon!

Sally said...


You're welcome... and yes, more writing time for all of us, SOON!! Thanks for stopping in...